At one time or another, we compare or rank ourselves against others. We tend to focus on points of comparison that interest us. We want to know how we measure up: "Hey, I'm not so bad," or "you sure don't measure up to their talent, smarts or looks," or "you better get your ass in gear."
Competitive thoughts can also make us victims of envy, jealousy and inadequacy. Not so good.
Healthy competition or playful rivalry seem to be good things when they motivate us to do better. We can all respect competitive people. They work hard and want to be good at something.
On the competitiveness spectrum there are all kinds of people, who:
I entered my first ballroom dance competition a few weeks ago, after three years of lessons and lots of practice. This came after a lifetime of believing that the competitive mindset was not part of my hard-wiring. I finally admitted that I wanted to know if I was any good, and the only way to do that was to be judged against other dancers.
I had to reassure myself over and over, that "there is no sin in wanting to win a competition." I had to train very hard, both technically and psychologically. First, I had to embrace the not-so-comfortable desire to compete and win. And then I had to develop work-around strategies to address the more likely reality that I would not win.
I told myself things like: "It's not about winning... You can't control the outcome, what matters is to do your best... If you don't do well, you will do better next time."
I placed first in all of the 40 dances I entered. The thrill and sense of accomplishment was mind-bending. I was flying.
Then I discovered there were no other dancers in my category. Forty empty first place medals. The sense of disappointment was mind-bending, too. I crashed.
So in my first-ever competition, I experienced the thrill of victory followed by the agony of discovering that my victory was empty.
All I can say is that, while competing against myself, I did quite well for a newbie.
To compete or not to compete, that is the question.
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.