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Competitions Grow Character

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on September 2, 2015 at 11:05 AM

Competition. Every one of us will engage in some kind of competition in our lives; many of us engage in competition daily or weekly. Beauty pageants, 4H fair projects, sports, political campaigns, job interviews, theater auditions, and simple disagreements with friends or coworkers are all examples of competition in life. Lawyers in the courtroom compete to see who can prove their points most persuasively. T-ball players compete to see who gets to play first base.


The question is not IF we will compete, but HOW we will compete. And how we will allow competition to affect us. Do we determine the outcome?


Competitions predictably end in one of two ways. You win or you lose. But also, either the competitors come out with new respect for each other or they come out hating each other. Sometimes it doesn't matter how good you are, you lose. So my focus is how to determine the other outcomes. Will you leave a competition defeated and bitter or stronger and wiser?


Before a competition ever starts it is imperative to have the right mindset. During a competition we should make good choices and take wise actions. After a competition we need to really watch our attitude and treatment of ourselves and others. Everyone likes to win, but winning is not synonymous with success. Everyone can leave a competition with success.


Some competitions are unwittingly flung upon us and find us unprepared, but the majority of competitions we sign up for ourselves so we should enter them prepared. Setting your mind to the right attitude will make a world of difference in whether you succeed or fail.


Experience has taught me that coming to a contest with a humble spirit is not only wise, but necessary. By seeking out the best in people and looking for things to learn from them, you allow others to build you up. Coming to a competition believing you are the best or the only one who is right sets you up for a hefty and painful fall.


Staying humble also helps you to respect your competitors as fellow human beings. Being friendly with the competitors before, during, and after a game or contest is a good way to build others up. Your competitors are generally not your enemies; they are just other people who also have feelings and lives beyond the scope of that moment. If the room must fill up with haughty snobs, don't let yourself be one of them.


In the heat of the moment it can get tough to keep your cool. And really, it's okay to get passionate at times. Passion is what gives us success. However, keep in mind that you are competing against a skill set, a strategy, or an argument to help you from making or taking things personal and distracting yourself or showing a lack of character.


After a competition, keep your emotions in check. It is easy to get too high or too low from a win or a loss. Don't let a win or loss affect your character in a negative way. If you win, remember what it is like to lose, and treat people the way you would want to be treated. Don't give empty compliments; find something kind to say and make it real. If you lose, learn from it. Accept the results and look for ways to improve next time. It's always a good idea to ask any judges, coaches, or other leaders for their commentary and advice, regardless of what place you earned. Don't judge the other competitors. Congratulate them and learn from what they did well. People who have beaten you before can eventually become valuable friends if you have proper respect for one another.


In the end it's who we are that matters. My experiences in various competitions still affect me today, not because of how many times I won or lost, but because of how each experience grew my character. I have learned how to be a part of a team, how to lose gracefully, how to get back on my feet after disappointment, how to learn from my mistakes and so much more. Everyone of us will continue to engage in competitions in their various forms, won't you join me in focusing on the art of competition and the growth in character that comes with embracing it with the right attitude? I sure still have a lot to learn!

Categories: Redeeming the Arts

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