The times when we come in first feel good. These wins may be big or small, but the feeling of being ahead of others is as addictive as it is desirable. There’s no reason for it to not feel good, as we’ve got no one else to beat when we come in first. One thing people forget however, is that the game of life keeps replaying. The competitions that you win will come around again next week, next month, next year, or in the next decade. Once you win within a specified area of life, it now becomes a game of trying not to lose. The position of being number one is vulnerable. You and your success are now a target, and it pays to make all future moves with that in mind.
This article hopes to shed some light onto why we should be careful dealing with life’s small victories. Whether it be catching the last seat on a crowded bus, being first in line on boxing day, or being rewarded for your performance at work. Winning is desired by all you meet in life. The definition of winning however, differs depending on who you ask. Even the most noble, noncompetitive, people in our world have their own definition of what winning is – and are working toward achieving their desired state. The desire for victory is a powerful motivator and a powerful destroyer. The following points are presented for those whose desire to win burns deep.
You’ll Never Know How Fast Others Run
Once you are ahead, you have no time to watch how fast the ones behind you are running to take your spot. Should turn back and look, you risk losing everything. Looking back can cost you precious time and effort which should be used to continue your streak of winning. This reason alone makes being ahead a scary undertaking. You are blind to who is behind you, and can only focus at what is in front. Be careful though, the ones behind you have a goal – and a clear vision of who they need to beat. That person is you, and they’re chasing you with every ounce of effort they can muster.
When someone beats us it any sort of competition, the feelings we have towards them are complex. Sure, you may respect the performance they’ve put forth and give them credit when its due. What would happen if you continued to compete against them though? Would you still show respect for what they do? Why should you show respect to those you’re trying to defeat? What if the stakes are high – say for instance finding yourself fighting them in an MMA bout. Why should you respect those who aim to make you quit? How about those who try to take money out of your pocket?
There are no right answers to the questions posed above, we can simply meditate on their nature. The fact of the matter is that some people will respect you when you win, while others’ desire to defeat you will burn even hotter. People can become vengeful beings with an unmatched ability to cause pain should they take a loss they did not expect.
Be careful about being blind to other forms of competition too. If for instance you become a master in a domain where nobody can pose a threat, they may then try to coerce you into competitions they can win. Be careful of letting your guard down when you think the competition has come to an end. People define their own rules and games. Should you win at one, they’ll make another rather than continue losing in the one you’ve mastered.
For example, taking the last seat on the bus can motivate those left standing to make life difficult for you later on. They may take their time moving aside while you make your way to get out the door – with their loss motivating their behavior. In no way is this article proposing that everyone you win against will operate by these rules. It is trying to prepare you for those who do. Those you win against will try hard to see you lose, and the realm in which they retaliate can be unexpected.
The Perfect Competitor
So what’s your best chance of remaining ahead after you win? We’ve established that it may be risky to keep tabs on those behind you as you should be fully focused on what’s ahead. The only logical way then, is to make yourself believe that you’re competing against perfect beings. You should make yourself believe those behind you are gods in what they do and perfect in anything they set their mind to. Their mind will be set on winning against you, thereby your mind should be set on winning against perfection. The sentence prior is impossible in theory, but serves well to motivate you in practice. If you visualize those chasing you as utter beasts – the perfect competitors with sharp teeth and long claws – you’ll remain motivated to keep of running while you’re ahead.
The chance is that not many can live up to this image of being a perfect competitor. Reality thereby, will not come close to what you visualize, and the ones running behind you will not come close to catching you. Be honest with what this perfect competitor looks like and what they do. There is no limit to their skills, so visualize the strongest version of competition that your mind can manage.