I’ve been watching contest shows a lot lately. It’s very interesting to see how some people handle the pressure of competition. I’m not talking about so-called “reality” shows where most of the drama is contrived by the producers and heightened by the editors. I’m talking about the real contest shows like cook-off shows and The Voice and even Dancing With The Stars.
You see some of the contestants come in with a clear edge, only to fold under the pressure. You see some who look like they don’t stand a chance, yet step up and shine. They are filled with doubt and fear and what sometimes seem to be overwhelming obstacles and they often outlast the other competitors with nothing but heart and soul.
The thing I find most interesting is that almost without exception, the ones who get further in the competitions are the ones who respect not only themselves but also the other contestants. Regardless of how well they do in any individual event, they never assume they will win. Because of this, they continue to work hard to be the best PERSON they can be, as well as the best competitor they can be.
Some people feel that if they don’t come in first, they are losers. Some people know that if they do the best they can do in every moment, they are a winner regardless of the final outcome of the competition.
The idea that we need to be better than anyone else at anything we do is probably one of the most hurtful ways we can treat ourselves. It’s sometimes hard to understand this concept because we are mostly brought up in a competitive environment. We are told we need to get better grades in school because our sibling or neighbor is doing better.
Many of us were chided or even punished for not getting A’s and B’s in school. I find it ironic that in a society where we are pushed and brainwashed and often threatened to be like everyone else, the idea of getting a C grade, WHICH IS THE AVERAGE, is so often treated as failing.
I’d love to go back to being a kid, getting a C and saying to my father, “But Dad, I thought you wanted me to be just like everyone else?” It would have been worth the spanking. ;D
What’s the difference between a sore loser or winner and a gracious loser or winner? SELF-RESPECT. The greatest competitors in the world have one thing in common: They NEVER compete against anyone but themselves. They may be in an arena with other competitors and crowds of people betting on who will win, but the only thing a great competitor is focused on is doing the best he or she can in the moment.
It’s never about beating the other guy. It’s only about doing your best.
A NEW DEFINITION OF FAILURE
We should never accept failure from ourselves, but I do suggest we change our perception of what failure is. In the late 1970s there was a running back on the Houston Oilers football team named Rob Carpenter. He lived in the shadow of Earl Campbell. Even though Carpenter averaged around four yards per carry (more than three is considered excellent), Campbell averaged close to five. Nobody knew or cared who Carpenter was. Compared to Earl “The Pearl” Campbell, Rob Carpenter was a failure. When he got traded to the NY Giants and got out of Campbell’s shadow, he was considered a superstar even though his averages were often lower than what they’d been in Houston.
When you rate your success based on someone else’s accomplishments you are automatically a loser. First of all, life is not a competition. You don’t have to be bigger, better, faster, prettier, wittier or any other -ier than anyone else.
A $49 MILLION disappointment
“For the quarter ended June 30, Burger King reported a profit of $49 million, or 36 cents a share, down from $58.9 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier.”
Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2010
The title of this article was “Burger King Still Sees Challenges Ahead”. Burger King is disrespected because they are a distant second compared to McDonald’s. I don’t know about you, but I think I’d be pretty happy if my company made a profit of $49 MILLION, but the WSJ and many investors consider this to be a catastrophe.
A HEALTHIER PERSPECTIVE
Don’t you think it’s time we put things into a healthier perspective? If you think you aren’t making enough money, or achieving your desired goals or getting enough of anything you seek, is it because you perceive other people to be doing/being/getting more than you?
If you are truly doing your best, then show yourself the respect you deserve for doing your best. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and don’t base your definition of success on how much money or how many toys you have.
The irony is that if you love and respect yourself right now as you are, without thinking you should have more, you will probably get more.
The moment you start chastising yourself for not having done a better job, you are living in the past. Do your best in each moment and love yourself even if you didn’t.
If you live in this moment and love and respect yourself right now, you will always be a winner.