Why competition is good for you

When I was at primary school I was the best kid at athletics in my year. My mum has a funny story about one particular sports day when I had won all my races and I was receiving my last winner’s medal. In front of the whole school, including families that were there to support their kids, I yelled out ‘I told you I would win everything mum’. I think she turned her head around and pretended I wasn’t her child. I was obviously pretty confident in my ability but the one thing I remember the most was how much I loved competing. At that age everything was a race and I always wanted to win!

Something happened once I got to intermediate, I suddenly faced a higher level of competition and I wasn’t winning very much at all. Instead of showing amazing character and working hard to improve I just stopped competing. I was so afraid of losing that I stopped doing the thing I loved. I remember making up injuries, being sick or just not going to school on sports day because I was so afraid of losing.

Around ten years later I was watching the movie Dead Poets Society. In one section Robin William’s teacher character talks to his students about how competition helps you find the best version of yourself. This really struck a note with me so I started entering races. At first I didn’t win anything but these races took me to places that I had never been in any type of training I had done, they were showing me another level of myself.

As the years progressed I worked on my skills, fitness and racing ability which lead me to achieving some results that I’m really proud of. But the one thing I always reminded myself was that competition is an opportunity to discover the next level for myself.

I know some of you may be reading this and even the idea of competition makes you feel uneasy.   One of the reasons I think this may be the case is because competition takes us to a place of real honesty. When you are racing you can experience all the doubt in the world and it exposes everything about who you are. It’s like it puts a mirror in front of yourself and you can see your strengths and weaknesses to the core. Sorry, I’m not meaning to put you off here. The upside is that while you’re in this place you learn what you need to do to grow, and this competitive place can give you the motivation to go there.

Competition can be about winning, don’t get me wrong I love winning, but more importantly it’s one of the best ways for you to grow your character and find the next level in yourself. If you want to grow as a person move towards competition and you find your growth will move into fast forward mode. 


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Bevan Eyles