My son plays football and is very competitive, and I imagine he gets it from my husband, who coaches football. They both like to win and don't just play for fun. My husband often says it's not fun to lose. I understand that, but I don't think or respond the same way. If someone is better than them, that motivates them to work harder and practice more to bring more to the table.
I am not competitive at all, that is, with other people. I only compete with myself and try to bring myself up higher regularly. That doesn't mean I don't respond when someone I interact with has something I want or is better than me at something I am working on. It definitely triggers action to work harder on me and press in to see if I truly want those things or skills at all.
Compete with Self
What does it mean to compete with yourself? Well, for me, it's to hit new goals every time. Take further action steps and move the needle. I consider it a personal success and not necessarily on big things. For example, over the last few months, my sleep patterns have gotten out of whack. My daughter stays up late so my husband and I like to go to sleep after everyone, which then puts us to bed later. Going to bed later affects the time I wake up, which also becomes later. It also affects the routine I have in the morning because when I get up early, everyone is asleep. If the kids are awake, I don't get my quiet time, and this is something I desperately need. So, I have decided to go to be immediately when the kids do, to change the current pattern, and it has helped me wake up earlier, which is a win. It seems like a small win, but it truly starts my day off right. I believe a lot of small wins move the needle.
Hatchet story - competition hinders her fun
One night a bunch of moms from my son's sports team had a "mom's night out ."We all brought food and drinks while we throw these small hatchets at a wooden target. I don't have aim for the life of me, but I was game to go. I am not even sure who could prepare for such an event unless they practice. After a few bad throws, one of the moms quit saying, " I am too competitive for this; I can't play," and for the remainder of the night, did not play. I still think about it often because I find it so sad. Competition has its place but to deter you from actually having fun because you have to compete on every arena well that is sad. Who is great at everything?
What about people who are so competitive that they compete with everyone around them and can't have meaningful relationships? How can you be a good friend if you are always trying to out do that person and beat them to the punch? The truth is you can't. Competition is a part of life, but if you put it in places it doesn't belong, it will hinder you and the relationships with those around you.
I think knowing yourself is crucial, both your strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we may not know that our behavior can hinder our growth or our relationships. It could have been modeled for us growing up, and that's all we know. Either way, to change and progress in an area, we need to know it's an issue, to begin with.
Are you competitive? What's your take on it?