Well, are you? And if you are, then try harder. You can ALWAYS do better.
I stumbled upon Seth Godin’s bucket-of-icy-cold-water-in-the-face-and-hit-in-the-teeth-with-a-wet-kipper post this morning and it spoke to me. I’ve been a bit lax with my weight training and therefore really hamming up my New Rules of Lifting for Women 6 month program. The last three months of it has seen a dramatic change in my fitness level in the first six weeks followed by just treading water for the next six. I could list a whole host of reasons – root canal, two children starting college, teething baby, visiting Mother, majorly bruised ribs but that all sounds like yada yada yada to me. The truth is, I took my eyes of the ball. Rather than tweaking my diet to see if I can improve it, I’m manipulating it. Rather than pushing my fitness to another challenging level, I’ve been scoping the situation and hedging my bets that I still have some resting time before I need to step it up again. A bit like playing a game of chance where everything hangs on one happening in order to make another possible.
And it’s been alright to teeter like this, because by golly, just look at how well you’ve been doing!!
No. No. No. No. That’s the death knell of progress. Self-congratulatory, back-patting exercise which repeatedly validates that next serving of almond croissant as being a treat you deserve for having worked so hard. I suppose this is where competitiveness gets a lot of flak. To some, competitiveness suggest that you are never good enough, or competitiveness means that crestfallen realisation that you will never be good enough as someone else. And for these very reasons, you see educational institutions avoid engaging their children in competitive activities for fear that it would spiritually crush them and instead, mediocrity is celebrated in its place.
It’s taken me a long time to learn this, but competitiveness has nothing to do with making you feel that you’re not good enough. It has a lot to do with telling you that you can do better. Not better than someone else, but better than what you are today. The sort of better that gets you to finger-grasp near to amazingness. The sort of better that keeps you hungry, stops you from being complacent and drives out the tumbleweed from your mind. And it stops you from being smug. I don’t even have to tell you how annoying little shits smug bastards are.
So the next time I tell you that I am deep squatting 50kg, look impressed for a wee while, then ask me how I’m getting on with nailing those push-ups.