I must say the word 20-30 times a day, easily. Whether out loud to my kids at their practices, at the high school where I coach football, or to myself when I am working out. Usually, I say it fiercely. Com-pete! Say it too loudly or in the wrong crowd, and people will look at you sideways like you’ve cursed at the top of your lungs. Some people don’t like competition or people who are competitive. Some folks shy away from it altogether. I don’t care!

Whether you know it or not, you’re in a competition. 

At first, it appears you are in a competition with everyone else. When you’re a kid playing soccer, football, chess, or the debate team, you feel like you’re competing against an exterior opponent. You then compete to get into the best colleges and universities, compete for the best jobs, and even compete for the best spouses. You are defeating another team or opponent.

Fortunately, I got to play a kid’s game for a living, and got to play long enough that I figured out that the opponent, whether the Denver Broncos, the Raiders, Patriots, or Colts, were just stand-ins, or placeholders for me to get more out of myself. Sure, I was competing against another man. I did compete to win. Why go through all of that effort to prepare for a contest and not care about the outcome? But, more importantly, I competed to track my own progress. Was I improving on a consistent basis? Was I doing the requisite work to stay razor sharp? Was I getting enough sleep and eating well enough to perform optimally? 

You see, without competition, we can never achieve our full potential. Without an opponent, we will never be pushed to our limits, fail, and be forced to do a long, hard, and honest evaluation of our own skill sets at that time. After this intense evaluation, and having been humbled, we stand up, dust ourselves off, figure out where we need to improve, and give it (whatever it is) another go. Hopefully we have corrected our mistakes, made subtle improvements, and taken our performance to another level. But, maybe we haven’t made all of the necessary adjustments and we fail again. Perhaps we need to spend more time under tension. Maybe we missed a few key details in our preparation, didn’t have the energy to maintain our focus through the end of the game, or didn’t perform well in crunch time. simply The point is, when you are competing, whether at work, on the field, in races, or personal challenges that you set for yourself…

You give yourself a chance to expose your own weaknesses. 

If you are competitive, when you find those areas of weakness, you will find ways to eliminate them, so they don’t cost you again in the future. 

We will never know unless we are in the arena competing on a consistent basis. 

Find an arena, any will do, and simply compete hard. 

All the best!