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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Day of 2015 and How Competitive Are You?

Maybe I take "years" very seriously.  I start out with a bang and start to get things accomplished, but as the year winds down things pile up and I get overwhelmed and am behind on everything (just look at this blog if you need an example of that).

A year really means nothing to me other than a psychological reason for a fresh start.  And who doesn't like fresh starts?

Today's my last "lazy day".  Am I really lazy on lazy days?  I'm not sure.  I seem to do a lot, but I always find myself feeling guilty about not getting enough done.  Anyway, while I was being lazy today I was musing about competition.  In 2016, I'd like to relinquish any notions or feelings that life is a competition.

I understand where feeling competitive can be a good thing.

Two studies on the subject make the distinction between "competing to win" versus "competing to excel".

"... competing to win was linked to higher levels of depression and loneliness and to fewer and less close friendships. Competing to excel was linked to higher self-esteem and less depression... but was largely unrelated to social functioning."

Is competition a primal instinct?  Is it part of our nature?

I think if I thought of fewer things as a competition, I'd probably be a happier person.  I wouldn't find myself "lacking" in so many areas.  And competition can be really stupid at times.  For example, in almost ANYTHING  you can think of, there will ALWAYS be someone better/faster/stronger/more skilled than you.  So why be competitive?  Or better yet, how to stop making it a natural thought reaction.

So do I want to do something really well (competing to excel) or do I want to beat the other guy (competing to win)?

Competing to excel is like competing against yourself... or your former self.  Maybe your yesterday self.

There is no "winning"... just getting better. 

I'm down with that.  So long as it doesn't turn in to a case of me chastising myself for not being good enough, fast enough, skilled enough.

And... CAN I resist the temptation to compare myself to others?  Probably not, but habits start with baby steps and although our innate personalities (characteristics) are fairly ingrained and immovable, our ability to change how we perceive things is mutable and I can work with that.

So here's to a happy new year.  I've got a lot to do... but I don't have to be better than anyone else, I just have to be better than my yesterday self.