Turning Competition Into Something Healthy (Maybe Even Spiritual?)

She tells me that she has a very competitive nature, and she wonders if that’s a good thing. For example, when playing sports: should she go all out, true to her competitive nature?

Might upset her partner, if she keeps winning.

So, what to do?

Well, one thing you can do if you have a competitive bent, is to transcend the normal human kind of competition, and move over into a more spiritual variety.

You go from ‘me against you, let’s see who will beat the other’ into ‘I’m pitted against myself, let’s see if I can beat my previous best’.

Because in the end, you’re always competing against yourself.

Except most people don’t realise that, don’t go beyond the me vs you variety.

But what is there to prove, to yourself or another person… that you’re faster, bigger, stronger?

You might be all that, but where’s the fun in proving it?

It is, ultimately, an ego thing, and besting someone else is a fairly poor way to win.

Me I don’t care about competition. Not in business, or sports, or chess, or social media activity – I’m just not interested in being better than someone else. It’s boring to me.

But what really fires me up?

Being better now than I was yesterday or 30 minutes ago.

I have this version of myself called now. And a version called past-Martin, and there’s a future-Martin.

And the game I play, where I try to beat my opponent every day, is the game where now-Martin is playing all out in order to be better than past-Martin.

It’s a fun game, it’s motivating, and hey, bonus: you’ll never risk out-playing and upsetting someone who’s in it for the fun and not for the competition.

But meanwhile you get to play all out, and you keep getting better. How cool is that?




Also published on Medium.

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