There are no Olympic Games in programming, no best-of-the-best contests in which you can measure your performance against that of your peers. But, whether you sense it or not, you are always in a race with your colleagues. To motivate yourself to get and stay ahead of them, you must set your own benchmarks.
Competence is deceptive: It makes what s difficult (like turning a hopping ground ball into a double play) look smooth and effortless.
We re used to seeing champions in smooth, effortless action at athletic events. Their high achievement is immediately obvious because it is physical and can be measured against a set of expectations or world records that serve as benchmarks. Though it may not be immediately obvious, programmers can also use benchmarks to keep themselves at the top of their game.