Two weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off another epic comeback–their third in a row–to become Super Bowl champions for the first time in 50 years.
As was the case all season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes played a major role in his team’s victory. Despite some major mistakes (Mahomes threw two interceptions in the game and also fumbled twice), and despite being down 10 points going into the fourth quarter, Mahomes led the Chiefs to three touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the game.
As a result, the 24-year-old Mahomes became the youngest quarterback in Super Bowl history to be named MVP. Mahomes was also named league MVP in 2018 and has broken numerous passing records in his short time in the NFL (only three seasons).
What’s the secret to Mahomes’s success? The young quarterback gave some insight into that question in his post-Super Bowl interview. Asked if he now sees himself as the face of the NFL, Mahomes had this to say:
There’s several guys that could be the face of the NFL … Lamar [Jackson], who was [named] the unanimous [league] MVP last night, he had one of the best seasons of all time at the quarterback position. And, so, there’s guys like that it seems like every single year. A lot of young quarterbacks, still a lot of veteran guys that are playing at a very high level.
And, so, I just try to be the best Patrick Mahomes I can be.
I just try to be the best I can be.
This simple sentence is much more than a simple philosophy. It’s a core element of emotional intelligence, and learning to implement it can help you to reach your full potential.
What does emotional intelligence have to do with it?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions. Put even more simply, it’s the ability to make emotions work for you, instead of against you.
But how does Mahomes’s statement show evidence of emotional intelligence?
Mahomes followed up his record-breaking season in 2018 with another great effort in 2019. But it wasn’t enough to win another league MVP, as that honor went to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who became only the second player to win the award unanimously.
Mahomes could have gotten caught up in comparisons with Jackson, who is one year his junior. But doing so would have been a dangerous distraction. By focusing on his own strengths and effort instead, and the goal of winning a championship, Mahomes was able to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory.
When we focus too much on the accomplishments of others, we tend to create unfavorable comparisons. This can foster negative feelings, and prove discouraging. Or, it causes us to spend valuable time and energy trying to become something we’re not.
Additionally, remember that you need to define success.
It’s all too easy to compare yourself with colleagues, friends, and family members regarding everything from your job title to the size of your house.
But as Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you take time to define your own goals and priorities, and refuse to let others dictate these to you, you’ll be happier and more successful.
So, the next time you’re tempted to focus on the accomplishments of your colleagues, your family members, or even your competitors, don’t.
Instead, use that time as an opportunity to buckle down and refocus on your own goals and priorities.
That will help you to become the best version of yourself, and make emotions work for you, instead of against you.
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A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com.