“Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” ~ Annie Get Your Gun
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Competition (n): the act of competing, rivalry
2012 saw the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in London. These are viewed by many as the pinnacle of sporting competition, the best pitted against the best, for the ultimate in sporting prize.
However it seems the best don’t compete against each other; they only compete against themselves. To be the very best that they can be.
To that end, there was an excellent piece of analysis of the Usain Bolt 100 metres final race. Bolt had a bad start (false start fears possibly lingering) and powered harder to make up for it. As he passed his competitors there was a ripple effect. They were no longer running their own race, they were trying to catch him and this caused them to stiffen, no longer running as fluidly as they were before. In terms of time, this relates to mere tenths of seconds. However, as you have probably been reading this piece for longer than a 100 metres final race lasts, that shows how important those tenths are. And how important it is to run your own race.
It makes for an interesting point if you apply to life in general. How many of us try harder because we want to be more like someone else or to be better than them? So we’re always striving to catch up, no longer moving smoothly through our own lives but trying to chase theirs. How much more could we achieve if we focused on just running our own race?
The side of competitive behaviour I don’t like are those who form the been there, done that, made that t-shirt brigade. Everyone knows someone who always leaps in with their own bit of knowledge that is ‘obviously’ better than anyone else’s, their own bit of a story to outdo all the others. Probably, at times, we have all been guilty of this. But is it worth it? Just to put yourself out there as always being the one who knows? Just think, everyone we will ever meet knows something we don’t; how wonderful to think that we could learn from them instead of competing against them.
That’s not to say don’t share knowledge with others when you have it. Nor is it wrong to be inspired by others. But share knowledge to help others grow, not just to show off that you’ve got it. Take inspiration from the acts of others but use it to be the best you can. No-one else will ever be you. Challenge yourself to be best you that you can ever be and stop competing against the rest.
I leave you with this thought:
“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself” ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov
Interested in your thoughts, as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard.