Competition is a major buzzword in our society. Perhaps due to our free market economy, competition has become essentially synonymous with survival of the fittest. The win at all costs approach results in a zero sum mentality: in order for me to win, you must lose. Thus, people will use the rationale of “I’m a competitor” to justify being obsessed with winning, or in some cases as an excuse for being a really poor loser.
Unfortunately, none of the above has much to do with the real nature of competition. Competition comes from the latin com petere, which means to strive together. Bringing out the best in one another. It is not about winning at all costs, or even winning at all. In the same way as being a success, the true measure of competition is only against oneself. This can also be seen in the Olympic motto of citius, altius, fortius: faster, higher, stronger. Not faster, higher, stronger than your opponent – just faster, higher, stronger.
I’ve seen many performers derailed by being overly focused on winning. Patting themselves on the back for a win, when they know their performance was not of top quality. Or sabotaging their confidence by sulking after a loss despite putting forth a tremendous effort.
If you can reconnect with the true meaning of competition, you can find great inspiration in your fellow competitors and in yourself. By striving together, we can achieve more than when we seek to win through domination. Performances become an opportunity to exceed your own expectations, rather than tests to be anxious about. How can you use competition as inspiration?