The Goal Of Competition

What does competing and winning mean to you?

It’s something that I started thinking about a week or so ago when I actually started wondering why people cheat.

Regular readers, especially those who read my Having A Coffee posts most weekends, will know that I enjoy a Pokémon Go session more than a 33 year old bloke probably should.

One of the problems with a game that relies on a users location is that it can be “spoofed” using other computer programs.  Spoofers use a program to search the globe for the best Pokémon and then transport their virtual selves to that location to catch said critter.   They then sit in their pyjamas scratching their nether regions and use a number of different accounts, all run by a computer, to battle in Pokémon gyms.

Have a Pokemon in a gym after 21 hours after your first pocket monster entered one, and you get 10 coins which can be traded for stuff in the game.

I don’t understand the kick that spoofers get from the game.  By using a computer, they have already reached the top level of the game and have caught everything there is to catch, rendering the reward scheme pointless.  The only incentive I can see is depriving others of the chance to progress.

Then I saw this Instagram post from my soon-to-be yoga teacher:

Good morning rise and shine ☀️ happy Wednesday. Just on my way to my 6:30 Ashtanga, who’s joining me? ________________________________ I’ve been thinking a lot lately about competition, why are people competitive, is it healthy? Does it shape people to be their best, does it come from insecurities? Does it make people lose them selves? Or find their true self? Should I be competitive? So many questions and you could argue yes and no Fairly to all them answers. I’m not competitive at all to be honest and I think that stems from my view of you’ve tried your best then it was a success so what was the competition 🙏🏻 I also want others to succeed so how can I compete?! 🤔💭 id like your thoughts…. ________________________________ Anyways loved this shoulder opener yesterday 🙌🏻👊🏻

A post shared by Natasha (@tashtanga) on

Now, I’ve done sport for pretty much all my life.  Whenever I’ve walked out on to a football pitch I’ve looked at the person I’m going to be directly playing against and I know that I need to win my little battle.  I need to run faster, tackle harder, jump higher, think more clearly… I need to be better than them so I can help my team win.  In the heat of competition, I need them not to be as good as me and that may make them unhappy.

I’ve had those games, too.  I remember walking off the pitch after one particular game where absolutely nothing worked for me.  I was beaten to every ball and I lost every duel and passes and shots weren’t finding their targets.  I knew I was under performing and that I was being made to under perform and that my opponent was better than me.  I was never the best player but I knew my level and that wasn’t it.  Losing the competition is a motivator to get better.

Winning can also be a motivator to get better, though.  Many years ago I was at an archery competition.  We were shooting the team head-to-head format – two teams of three shooting against each other with the winner progressing to the next round.  We got to the final and I shot a blinder – I felt like I couldn’t miss.  One of my friends who was also at the competition (we beat his team on the way to the final!) said that my teammates got us to the final and I won it.

While his assessment was harsh on my two teammates, I loved being to help my team and I loved the fact that I’d pushed beyond limits to achieve scores I’d never hit before.  Those were better feelings than picking up my winners’ medal and I wanted those feelings again.

However, one of the guys we beat in the final was not happy in the slightest and his reaction to losing when it came to his teammates was poor.  Whenever there is competition, someone loses.  I believe that this is why perspective matters.

I play sport because I enjoy it so I can enjoy the here and now whatever the outcome and (in a concept that I can’t entirely get my head round myself because I don’t like not being able to do what I know I can) whatever my performance level.  I like putting myself in the position where I need to improve and develop and innovate and I just love playing the game.  That goes with life as well, contrary to what some may say! I don’t try do things that upset me or make me feel bad about myself or demoralise me but, if I do it accidentally, I try to learn from them and that makes the competition worthwhile.  That’s why I think competition can always be positive; if you think there is no more to learn, that’s where it can turn toxic.

I believe that life is full of competition, whether we like it or not.  I think it was Steve Jobs that said you always have to hire people capable of taking your job.  When you apply for a job, you have trained for it and you will get it because in some way you are better than other people.  The girl or the boy you’re with should believe that you are better in some way or another important to them than everyone else out there.

I think this is how I can justify an assertion that competition is positive if the main long-term goal is not to win or get the job or get the girl or get more Pokémon coins than you know what to do with or to reach any other tangible goal that leaves you with nowhere else to go, but simply to get better and enjoy yourself along the way.

We are crazy wild dreamers
We are long shot believers
We are make a promise keepers
We are, we are, we are
We are now, we are forever
We are in this thing together
We don’t give up or surrender
We are, we are, we are
Never enders

We are the fire that keeps on burning
Always live and always learning

Never Enders by Lonestar

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