Competition LO18163

Roxanne Abbas (
Fri, 22 May 1998 09:50:11 -0500

Replying to LO18139 --

Fred Nickols says:

>In reflecting on this thread, I don't recall seeing any instances of
>competition with one's self. In golf, for example, you compete with your
>own past performance. The action is between you and the golf course, not
>you and other players. Where you finish is a function of how well you
>play, not your interactions with other players. Would this serve as an
>instance of healthy competition?

Fred, I want to take us back to Webster's definition of competition as a
contest between rivals. Although people frequently using the phrase
"competing with myself", this is not a correct use of the word. In LO
language we are seeking Personal Mastery. We are simply trying to build
our skills or capabilities.

I think that the game of golf offers a useful example for our discussion.
I play golf regularly because I enjoy the fresh air, the quiet natural
beauty of the course, socializing with friends and the challenges of the
sport. My goal in a round of golf is to enjoy the day. When I golf with
people who are highly competitive, who either want to beat me or to beat
their previous score on the course, my enjoyment of the game is
diminished. Competitive golfers often become absorbed in their own game
and become very unpleasant when it doesn't meet their expectations.

Sometimes I feel that highly competitive people have a psychological need
to prove themselves, either to themselves or to others. If there is truth
to this statement, I would say that entering competitions is perhaps the
worse way for them to heal themselves. It may ease the pain in the short
term, just as liquor satisfies the cravings of an alcoholic.


Roxanne Abbas

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