As an entrepreneur competition is important. Winning is everything and I want to win, no two ways about it! Yet when I lose, I usually learn something, which to me still counts as a win. This is not my ego speaking, I believe I’ve won because I learn something new and improve for the next time.
While I was a freshman in college a hallmate asked me to join him for a game of racquetball. I had only played once before, and it was the fastest 4 games I had ever played! Even with a 5-minute warmup the whole thing only took about 25 minutes; he took me to school! I asked if it was fun for him to watch me run around, because by the end, I was left feeling exhausted and annoyed. He responded that he just wanted to hit the ball around and get some exercise, though I was the one who ran around the court! I asked how he got so good, it turned out his brother was ranked one of the top 10 players in the state. The two of them played together a lot and as a result, his brother’s expertise rubbed off on him.
I on the other hand, held a cumulative score of 3 for the 4 games we played: an embarrassment. Yet by the end of the year, I was up to 13 points in one game. I still didn’t win, but it didn’t matter; the competition was no longer against my friend, it was with myself. Yes, I was competing against someone else, but the reality was that after only 8 months of practice, it was unlikely I would beat someone that had been playing for years. So instead of focusing on trying to win the competition and getting frustrated, I focused on becoming better. I competed with myself and felt positive about my progress, which motivated me to continue to put in the work. When lifting weights, that mentality bears the same outcome; if you want to get better and lift more, you must make the effort to achieve that goal. That kind of competition is solely with yourself. And when you focus on improving yourself, those accomplishments will always stay with you. Isn’t that the real win?
Back in the day there was a poster of a mansion with several exotic cars in the garage. The poster read “The one with the most toys, wins.” While it intended to motivate success, it could have been interpreted as keeping up with the Joneses, a negative message in my opinion. That is the problem I have with competition: if it is about others, then you miss out on the real value of competition. But if the competition is about you becoming better at something (even if it is against someone else) rather than to obtain
In the end, competition is great, but ask yourself: are you competing to show off and keep up, or are you competing to make yourself better? Let me know.
“Compare yourself only to who you were yesterday, be your own competition.”– Unknown
Have great weekend.