Horse Race

Let’s face it. We live in a competitive world. People are competing for the same job you want. People are competing for the same sale you are trying to make. There is even competition for the time and attention of the ones you love. Many of the things we want in life, someone else wants too. If you want a great life, you have to fight for it. You have to bring your A Game ready to compete every day.

Living In a Competitive World

Don’t let that discourage you. Competition is a good thing. Here are four reasons why we want to live in a competitive world.

First, you have to realize that most of the competition isn’t that tough. Most of the people you are competing with aren’t really that serious. Everyone wants the promotion but most people aren’t willing to work the extra hours to get it. Everyone wants to make A’s but most people are only willing to do C work. All salespeople want to land the big account but most aren’t willing to build the relationships.

Second, the world isn’t always a win-lose game. Though not everyone gets a trophy, there are enough trophies to go around. You don’t have to push everyone down to the bottom for you to come out on top. Everyone wants first place but second place also has its benefits. That can be true for third place, fourth place…

Third, competition can actually be quite fun. I hate playing basketball when my team is far superior to the other team or vice versa. You just don’t throw your heart into the game when you know you are going to win anyway. But when the competition is strong, it brings out the best in everyone. And that is when we feel the most alive.

Fourth, competition has great benefits. I am not pro-business. I am not pro-government. I don’t trust either of them. I am pro-competition. When I have money to spend and companies have to compete for it, I know I will get the most for my dollar. So while I am competing to get the money to buy my dream car, the auto manufacturers are competing to make it more of a dream for me.

The Competition Can Be In the Mirror

Sometime we just compete against ourselves. This morning, I set my personal best for a certain cardio workout I do. After over an hour of throwing everything I had into the routine, I stood there leaning against a wall breathing hard and covered with sweat. I had to rest there for a minute or so before I even had the strength to walk out to the car.

It felt great. My lungs were hurting. My legs were spaghetti. My back was leaning against the wall and my hands were on my knees. But there was a huge smile inside me because I knew that I had done my best and I had prevailed against my past. That’s fun. In fact that can sometimes be the most fun.

When we compete against the world, we can always find people we can beat and people who can beat us. Slam dunking over third graders doesn’t mean I am a great basketball player. The fact that I can’t stay on the court with LeBron James doesn’t mean I should give up the game. Competing against ourselves can be the truest measure of whether I am getting the best from what I have.

Don’t Let Looks Fool You

There is a verse in the Bible that basically says that man looks on the outside but God looks on the inside. When we are assessing our competition, it would be good to follow God’s example.

There are some people who just look intimidating but they don’t have the heart of a competitor. I once heard a football player describe such a person. He said that some people show up on the field looking like they could really play the game but they can’t. He said that they look like Tarzan but play like Jane.

On the other hand, some people are a lot better than they look. Last night I was talking with a friend of mine about a lawyer. I thought I knew who he was but I wasn’t for sure. So I asked him what this lawyer looked like. “He actually looks pretty unsophisticated,” my friend said. “But looks can be deceiving. He is dumb like a fox.”

Our Toughest Competition Series

So don’t let looks fool you. This blog post is the first in a series I am calling Our Toughest Competition. I am going to describe the types of people who will give us our biggest challenges whether we are competing in business, sports, or any other area of life.

We need to know how to identify or toughest competition. We don’t want to be intimidated by someone who is all looks but no substance. On the other hand, we don’t want to be fooled into underestimating the ones who can really beat us. So over the next couple of weeks, let’s look at who our strongest competition is. We will start the series by looking at one of everyone’s favorite competitors–Steph Curry. What makes him such a great competition? We will see in my next blog post.

 

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Category: , Tuesday, April 5, 2016

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