HOW TO BEAT YOUR COMPETITION

 

Competition. Everyone has someone they are competing against. A coworker for a job. A person on the team for a position. Maybe even the violin player next to you so you can get first chair. There are even healthier forms of completion. Competing with your lover to see who can be more romantic. Competing with a friend to see who can eat healthy for the longest and who can make it to the gym more days this week.

While all of those may indeed be examples of competition, I think the real competition can be found within ourselves. There is an old Cherokee tale of the two wolves inside each one of us. In short, there are two wolves inside each one of us, a good wolf and a bad wolf. Each one wants to be in control and they will fight to gain control over our mind and body. The simple way to figure out which one will win? The one you feed the most. That is the real competition. It happens inside each and every one of us. The picture above gives plenty of examples.

Let me put a few more out there and see if they sound familiar. You know you should get up early and go to the gym before work but you hit snooze because it is cold out and you are tired. You just fed the bad wolf. You finally go the gym and put in a good workout. You fed the good wolf. On the way home from the gym you stop at the all-you-can-eat pizza place and have…well…all you can eat. You fed the bad wolf. You know you should apologize for something you said to a friend, but you don’t because your ego convinces you that you will look weak or bad. You fed the bad wolf. You talk about your neighbor/coworker/friend behind their back. You fed the bad wolf. You helped a complete stranger just because they needed it. You fed the good wolf.

Our lives are filled with examples of this over and over everyday. It is a never-ending…competition. The competition you must win is on the inside. This is a competition we will be in for the rest of our lives. Some days we may win, some days we may lose. Like any other competition, the more we practice, the more we train, the more we learn from our loses as well as our victories the better chance we stand in winning tomorrow.

YOUR ONLY COMPETITION

Today at my day job I tried to wash windows. I learned something that until today had escaped my attention – I am not good at washing windows! I see the hardworking individuals with their buckets and squeegee making it look so easy.

Here I was up on a ladder, squeegee in one hand, rag in the other. “This should be quick and fun.” I thought to myself. As I was alone atop a ladder I may have even said it out loud. I began to work my magic on the windows.

Approximately 2 hours later I was soaked and they windows had less dirt, but far more streaks. Convinced the window cleaning folks have some actual magic to not only to clean windows but to stay even remotely dry.

Just as a spell, or at least a few select colorful words, was about to leave my lips, I stopped. I was reminded of two very important lessons that life had seen fit to remind me of.

First, every occupation has an art to it. This was first brought to my attention by a gentleman washing dishes at a meal program I help at. He not only could fit more dishes than one thought possible, they all came out perfectly clean. That may seem unimportant until you eat off a dirty plate, or can’t eat at all because there are no clean plates.

Second thing I remembered was that I am a writer, not a window washer. When I changed my focus from trying to be perfect like the professionals, to just getting better every window not only did I, but I enjoyed the process so much more.

This is key when working on improving any aspect of ourselves. There will always be someone smarter, in better shape, more popular, wealthier or whatever else we are trying to accomplish. That’s fine, they are different people than we are. We should not try to be anyone else but the best version of ourselves.