Today I’ve been thinking a lot about being competitive. I know I can be at times, and it’s not one of my most admirable traits depending on how it drives me (usually to distraction).
Some competitive feelings push people to do better in things, making the best they can of what they set their mind to because anything less isn’t good enough. Others unleash it more in fun situations to find their niches and cement the areas of their life that they excel at among their peers.
But feeling competitive can be painful. When we’re not good enough at something compared to a friend it can hurt. When we fail to reach that standard we’re seeking it can lead to disappointment.
Then there are the waves between people who compete. I know I personally can’t be lukewarm on competition. I often try really hard because I want to do the best I can, but at the risk of becoming too tunnel-visioned and struggling to work in a group or facing a painful defeat. If that doesn’t happen I’m quite apathetic, allowing others to take charge of the project or continually beat me without my feelings being hurt, but at the sacrifice of me putting less of my heart in my work or not trying as hard.
In a way that’s a weakness of mine. But, though competition can help you through life, life itself isn’t a competition. We’re all aiming for the same thing, and we’ll all get there in our own way. What does it matter who gets there first, or last, or easiest, or highest above the rest?
I don’t see life as a race to the finish line. I don’t even see it as a marathon, because you’re so caught up trying to compare yourself to scores and times and statistics and other people that you risk missing out on the scenery as you pass. I think of life more like a walk; sometimes gentle and sometimes brisk, but always moving steadily towards your goals and passing each one by maintaining your own pace.
I guess this thought has come from a number of people I’ve observed recently who push everything into a competitive scenario. I don’t care if I’m the best at something so long as I’m not awful at the things I enjoy doing. I don’t want to be the most popular person because I value the few real friends I have and sometimes too many people can cloud that purity.
I win at being me. At least, today I do. Tomorrow… we’ll see.