Life is Not a Competitive Sport. 

With the Olympics going on, my boyfriend and I have been making a conscious effort to be more active together. This last weekend we decided to play one of our favorite sports together, basketball, near the beach (since it was much cooler weather). It was amazing getting back into the game and I not only realized how much fun it was to play together, but it really brought out my confidence.

My boyfriend asked me to use this picture of him from our game as inspiration for my next blog post. It’s been challenging trying to come up with something directly related to basketball that would tie into the Self Love Challenge. When you think of sports, you don’t automatically correlate it to loving yourself and others or with learning how to become a better human being. However, today after listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the idea finally came to me. It’s a little outside the box, but trust me, read on because it might be helpful.

In the interview, Liz spoke about the difference between ambition and competitiveness in relation to creativity. With a little bit of digging into my own imagination, I was able to find a way to connect her ideas with how it relates to life, love, and overall personal growth.

There is a time and place for competitiveness. In sports, it’s necessary. However, in living a healthy lifestyle and in pursuing creativity as Liz warns, it can be destructive. For example, when in competition, the end goal in mind is usually to win or to prove something, sometimes by any means. Your entire focus is on achieving this goal, because you want to be the best out of everyone in what you are competing in. Most of the time it is a means of proving our worth or our skill.  

However, when it comes to creativity, Liz explains that this kind of competitive mindset can actually be harmful and a killer of creativity. Competition should not be the motivating factor that drives you to create art. If the end goal of achieving fame, money, or recognition is why you are creating, then it really isn’t much of a passion but rather another form of striving for acceptance or recognition. Passion should come from a deeper drive within ourselves. We should want to create something, not feel like we must in order to achieve some sort of reward or win. Our passion should come out of our own place of curiosity and inherent desire to pursue what makes us feel alive.

She then goes on to speak about ambition and how ambition is a better motivating factor when it comes to creativity. Ambition is a different sort of drive. It is the drive that motivates you to be the best version of yourself, rather than simply doing something for the sake of winning. When we are ambitious about something, we want to put our best selves forth. We want to create something beautiful because it reflects who we are. We want to learn more and hone our craft just because we are eager to become better at it for our own sake.

How does this relate to life or loving ourselves and others? In life and love we do not compete. Our goal in life is not to compete with other people, to be the best at this or have the best of this, but rather to enjoy our own individual journeys. If we have a set end goal in mind, then we are not truly living, but rather in this competing mindset of having to prove something.

Think about it, if your only motive in life was to have more of something than someone else does, does that truly bring satisfaction? Or what about in relationships, would you feel genuinely happy when you know you are just in it to reach an end goal of say, getting married or having someone commit? Not really right. It would feel too forced. And then you would end up comparing your life to the lives of others, realizing that some other person did it better than you or has something more than you. 

That lack of happiness or joy comes from having a competitive mindset. Life isn’t a race or a game that we have to win at. Life is meant to be a journey where we experience different successes and failures. It doesn’t matter whether we are considered true winners, because in reality, someone else is always going to be doing better off than us.

Winning in life means living a full life. Loving fully. Giving our best selves to the world and to the people we interact with each and every day. We want to have an ambitious mindset and display characteristics of honesty, patience, kindness, and trust. We want to take our time. We want to carefully learn our craft of loving ourselves or loving other people. And that when we will understand that it’s really not about winning or losing, but simply experiencing something.

Just as in making artwork, when we do it for the pure love of doing it, even if it looks terrible, we still can find joy in creating it. But if we don’t bring that sort of ambition with us, and rather are creating something just for sake of reward and end up losing, we create HUGE disappointment for ourselves, which may even destroy us a little in the long run.

Let us not think of life or love as something we must do perfectly or competitively. We all know that striving and trying too hard at something, doesn’t really get us very far. So it’s really best to just be ourselves. To love purely. To live simply. And most importantly to do these things not with any hidden intentions or underlying motives for some sort of gain, but just living authentically because we want to be better people.

So when it comes to love, life or creativity, leave the competition at the courts, and do yourself a favor and just let it flow out from your heart instead. There’s no need to prove yourself, to compare yourself, to force, to compete, or to win – because in the end success is what you define it as. 

So I guess you could say that I what I learned on the courts that day. Yes, we may have been playing a type of competing sport against each other, but at the end of the day, I learned that it wasn’t about being a winner or a loser, it was about having fun, and enjoying life for what it is.

The Self Love Daily Challenge: Life is not a competition, so don’t treat it as such. Bring your best self into every situation, and don’t strive to prove your worth.


Christina Ciro
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