Me Against Me

Having a ‘competition oriented’ approach to living can be beneficial in a multitude of ways. It promotes consistent improvement and encourages setting, meeting, and exceeding goals. For most, the word competition involves direct relationships with outside entities like other players, obstacles, or the game itself. It’s not often that we think of this opposition as a test of character, resiliency, and ability to overcome the largest competition we face: ourselves.
Sure, having an observable adversary makes the visualization of your goals easier. When you get smoked off the dribble in basketball, take second place in the spelling bee, or come inches short of taking the finish line, it hurts. Failure of any sort is terrible. No two ways about it. However, it’s an inevitable part of life. We discussed this a few weeks back in regards to understanding that we will spend a large majority of our lives existing in a ‘middle ground’ where there will almost always be people better than and worse than us at something.

The trick here is to not shun the desire to perform better than your peers, but to up the personal expectations you have on your performances. At all stages of life, you are the only judge of how satisfaction and success is defined in your life.

Here are 4 things to focus on to consistently win the fight against yourself:

  1. What’s on your plate: To get better, we must have a strict and dedicated focus on only the tasks at hand within a given day. We must not dwell on the success or downfalls of yesterday nor the promises or let downs tomorrow may bring. Today, this moment, this second is the only thing we have to work with. Utilize it.
  2. Plan & Prioritize: No successful exertion blossoms out of nowhere. It usually involves a lot of regimented planning, reflection, and progression. Having a notebook with a list of your daily tasks can offer a rewarding visualization of the things you need to get done today. You may be surprised at the triumph that comes with crossing things off your list.
  3. Slow Down & Breathe: Cliché’s and over used Pinterest jingles aside, we’re really only promised today. Although we may not choose to believe it, humans are very delicate creatures with an unsure and unpredictable fate. When I throw around the ‘live for today’ mantra, it’s not to imply shunning responsibility, rationality, or reality. I do, however, hope to stress that a day can be fully utilized by breaking it down into compartmentalized steps to a larger goal.
  4. Battles: Think of the hours or tasks in a day as battles. If you overlook one in anticipation of the next one, you’re inevitably going to half ass it or fall short completely. Focus on the chore at hand and don’t move on until it is completed to the best of your ability. These battles will eventually add up and, sooner or later, the war will be yours for the taking.