Whether you know it or not you have competed every single day for your entire life. Competitiveness comes very naturally for some of us, too natural at times. If you had siblings growing up you probably learned this at a young age. Who gets the first shower or the bigger pancake on Saturday morning. Vying for attention from your relatives and trying to make your presence known. People think of competing and they automatically think opposing teams, one versus one, and who is better than who. Competition is everywhere, we might as well except it and figure out how it can help make us better.
Matt Moody setting up for a workout
Competition vs. Comparison
There is a very thin line between being competitive with someone or comparing yourself to them. It is unnerving to start a journey with someone and watch them excel at a much faster rate than you. It can be so frustrating to some that they will actually quit. YOU chose to take this journey by yourself and up until now were satisfied with your accomplishments. But the moment you chose to compare yourself to someone else your accomplishments could seem small. You tend to lose your focus and lose the reason why you started in the first place. Some people have natural talents and some have to work harder to get to where they want to be. Just go with it. Keep working hard and eventually your hard work will pay off. When you catch yourself making comparisons think of where you started. Think of your story. You will see that YOUR progress far outweighs trying to be better than anyone else.
Andrea Lannom getting a Deadlift PR
Positive vs. Negative
Comparing yourself to someone who may be better than you at some things can also lead to a very negative attitude toward that person(s). Be happy for your friends! Smile and congratulate them when they get a back squat PR or beat you in a workout. Saying nothing will only add more pressure to yourself pushing you to the breaking point. You go into a workout thinking this is yours for the taking and suddenly you get passed on your last 400 meter run, do not give up, save that feeling for tomorrow or the next day. Always remember that those around you are working just as hard, they are there putting in the time and the effort, just like you. Having support from those around you is what will keep healthy competition between you and your workout buddies. The day will come when you get your friend by a couple seconds in a workout that is more up your alley. Do not be "that guy/girl" that makes it known to the world. Give yourself a silent pat on the back and move on.
Olivia Rutledge doing Prowler pushes
Competition with YOURSELF
The most important kind of competition is with yourself. If you are worried about everyone else around you there is a chance you will never get better. When you begin to challenge yourself is when the proof is on paper. Quite literally, keep track of your progress, write things down. If you continue to put in the work you will, without a doubt, see a difference, more than likely a positive one. Worry about you during your workout, not your friend next to you. Your biggest competition, at this point, are your own weaknesses. Work on them and make them strengths. Challenge yourself to work hard when no one is watching you. Go home, at the end of it all, feeling accomplished.
At the end of the day be proud of yourself. Maybe no one saw that stellar PR you had during class, but you know it. You also know the work you had to put in to get that PR. You are your biggest critic. Loosen up! Chances are you are doing just fine.
TJ and Lindsay Menerey doing partner log squats
“Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition-in having put forth the best within YOU."
-Henry J. Kaiser
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