I am not a very competitive person in general, although I think my sister would argue that that is not strictly true when it comes to board, card or dice games. And when I think back to the little blond me in pigtails, I do seem to recall several incidents of tantrums when I had lost yet again, there could have even been trowing things involved.
But when it comes to sports, career and even love I just don’t seem to have the urge to compete. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy success as much as the next person and I do want to do well in things I set out to do, but direct competition doesn’t give me the drive to do so. But it is a quality I admire and at times I wish I had more of an urge to win, especially when I see others around me take such great inspiration from it.
However while I was flicking through a magazine yesterday I read an article that claimed “The drive to compete is a basic human instinct – we are programmed to win.” This struck me a s somewhat presumptuous but it grabbed my attention and I did read the article. What surprised me however is that a distinction was made between obvious and hidden competitiveness, sports, career and sibling rivalry was obvious, checking out someones handbag, clothes, weight and even boyfriend is less so.
This got me wondering about what drives me and who am I competing with and I came to the conclusion “myself”, or at least the me I’d like to be. So while others seem to run after each other or strive to beat someone else, I keep looking at myself and aspire be a me I wasn’t yesterday. I am not sure why this is or how it came to be, maybe I just don’t think I can be as good as others, maybe I want to be better than what they think is good, or maybe no one expects quite as much from me as I do, possibly a combination of all three. But either way it is quite clear that I always lose as my goals are unrealistically high and always beyond my reach.
But instead of seeing this as failure maybe I should embrace the fact that I am not reveling in the power winning gives you but am losing only to myself. Maybe I should see “losing it“, whatever it may be, as a possibility to keep trying and relive the hope for success and excellence again and again, enjoying the sensation of the possible. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said so well:
I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again