To compete is defined as, to strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same. Or simply to take part in a contest. Compete, vie, contend(verb) compete for something; engage in a contest; measure oneself against others. Compete, contend, contest means to strive to outdo or excel. Compete implies having a sense of rivalry and of striving to do one's best as well as to outdo another: to compete for a prize. Contend suggests opposition or disputing as well as rivalry: to contend with an opponent, against obstacles. Adjective. of, pertaining to, involving, or decided by competition: competitive sports; a competitive examination. well suited for competition; having a feature that makes for successful competition: a competitive price. having a strong desire to compete or to succeed. Competition is essential because it leads to one very important thing, innovation. People who are motivated by competition are motivated for at least three reasons: competition allows them to satisfy the need to win, competition provides the opportunity or reason for improving their performance, and competition motivates them to put forth greater effort that can result in high levels of performance.
These are some of the answers you get when you Google competition or compete, I am writing this one week after a Crossfit competition and I would like to reflect on some of the things that go on in my head when I compete. I think it started Thursday afternoon before the competition on Friday because that was when it really became real that I was going to compete the next day and we had to lay low in the gym even though leading up to this we had tapered off on the intensity of our training at least we were doing something Thursday was when the stomach started to drop and those familiar but foreign feelings of fear started to creep into my day. In a normal day if we are doing something really challenging I might get a little nervous leading up to a heavy lift or a super challenging WOD but when I know I am going into the unknown I start to get nervous and then the questions starts popping up in my head. Why are you nervous? You do this every day! You are prepared! Why do I do this to myself? What if? Why? Maybe? How? Who? If? What? What? What? AHHHH!
Do I question my ability? Yes! Do I get nervous? YES! Do I get scared? Absolutely! But do I quit or do I think about quitting? Honestly, I think the whole reason I get nervous is because no matter what happens I know that quitting is not an option. Quitting never enters the cycle of nervous scared thoughts that go through my head and quitting at least for me has never been a thing. That is just how I am built and I know that a lot of people use the idea of quitting as a coping mechanism to deal with their nerves and fear of the unknown but I don’t. I feel that when I put myself in those situations it’s the fact that no matter what I am not going to quit that scares me, I know that the worst thing that could happen is that I could die. Perhaps like a soldier or first responder any situation could be fatal but we are going to do it anyways because that is the job or maybe that is how we are built. I don’t expect to die in a workout but it could happen, just like a police officer doesn’t expect to die when they pull someone over but it could happen and it has happened so we have to know that we can practice and plan for the worst and be as prepared as we possibly can be and things still might go wrong; yes I am saying that by training and competing I believe we are practicing and preparing for death. That is why I get scared and I am afraid not because of the other competition or the workout itself but because I am practicing in the physical form how I approach death; head on. I don’t remember what philosopher said it but it went something to the effect of, “all philosophy is to prepare one for death!” We don’t want to face our own death in fear but we don’t know how to do this practically so some people ignore it, others distract it, and still others confront it. If you ignore your own death like people do you are ignorant and you will live in ignorance of your health, your abilities as a human, and true happiness that come from exploring everything that it means to be human. If you distract yourself from your own death like people do you will be distracted by the short cuts and gadgets that are supposed to make you happy and healthy, you will miss the point because you were distracted by things you thought were important and miss what is truly important. If you confront your own death you will learn to accept it and move on to confront the other things in your life that need your attention and not your ignorance or distraction from it. You will confront your health and make decisions about how you want to live. I wish more people would make better decisions in this regard but I can’t control other people. I can only control what I believe and the decisions I make in regards to my life. Once you have confronted your own death you will make decisions about what and who you want to be as a human being in this world, and finally you will be able to decide what makes you happy.
Didn’t see that coming? I have pondered this for a week and longer if you think about it but I really didn’t know how to explain in a small amount of words what it means to compete for me. I have not spoken with anyone else about this and I don’t think I have ever really brought this idea up with anyone but when I compete either daily on the whiteboard or in a competition like we did at the Arnold last week. I’ve noticed I go through stages and I wanted to know why before I would talk about what those stages were and the WHY behind competing is that it represents not only how we live but also how we want to face death. We compete because like so many before us we say if this is how it’s going to end I’m going to face it on my feet with my eyes forward and my head high and not on my back in fear, not surprised or distracted, and definitely not as a someone who has given up; quitting never enters the equation. I compete because that is how I want to live my life, I want to gain experience, skills, and strength. I want to measure myself against others. I want to excel. I want to examine my human abilities. I want to win, I want to improve, and I will always want to put forth a greater effort to perform at the highest level possible.