The other night, I almost had a mental breakdown after a visit to the grocery store. Almost. Of course, the one time I forget my re-usable shopping bags at home and have to use the store’s plastic bags…is the one time my kids decide to see who can carry the most bags. I wanted to tell them, “No, just leave the bags, I will get them” but as I watched them struggle up the steps, their little arms and hands loaded down with bags of cereal, bread and unfortunately, MY eggs, I knew they were too caught up in competing to even hear me. I just sat on the steps and sighed. Flashbacks of me and my sister entered my mind…and I had a strange urge to phone my Mom and apologize profusely for probably giving her headaches. I didn’t call her though…after all, why should I? I was the perfect child growing up; it was MY sister who started EVERYTHING every single time. Anyway, later that evening, I realized that competition is healthy at times; because it can help motivate some people to work harder to try to make their life better. It’s funny to me when I hear a person say they’re not competitive at all. Chances are…they are…they just might not know it because competition is not always obvious. It can take on different appearances. So, if you happen to think you’re one of those “non-competing” kind of folks, take a look below…because it might change your mind.
The “I’m BETTER than you, Cuz you SUCK” Competition is deliberate. It’s driven because of desire. Not only do we want something, we want to take it from you because we think we are more awesome than you. The good thing about this type of competition is…you can totally hate the person during the competition but when it’s over…you can totally love them again. As kids, my sister and I would sit face to face…and compete to see who could hold our breath the longest. We didn’t care that our lungs were shriveling up and that we were turning blue in the face like a Smurf. Who cared, if one of us passed out? That simply meant there was a clear winner.
The “Hey now, Hold up” Competition is kinda sad because many times, we actually liked the person that we’re competing with on some level. It doesn’t start out deliberate because usually we don’t care too much about the “prize” or the “win” UNTIL we start analyzing the situation and realize…”Whoa, wait a minute now…that’s so not fair”. Our feelings get hurt. Our feathers get ruffled. And then we compete. When I was in Girls Scout, it was customary to congratulate a fellow member for getting a new badge by applauding and doing a handshake line. We were genuinely happy for our peers UNTIL we notice that our own sashes looked kinda barren compared to the happy girl getting the sparkly new badge. Whoa, wait a second now…everyone knows little Amy can’t boil water…so how the heck did she get that “Cooking Badge”? Hmm… from that moment on…it’s Thin Mint Cookie War!
The “Tri” Competition simply means you try NOT to be competitive even if you really want to be…You smile and really “Tri” to be the better person. Really. This kind of competition is typically harmless on its own, but when combined with the above previous competitions…it gets downright ugly.
The “Tri-Fecta” Competition is very similar to Tri-Fecta betting in horse racing. This competition combines three competitions in an exact order. However, this competition will rarely happen IF all parties act mature and responsible…however, if that’s not the case…put your money on the fast one. Here’s an example.
Let’s say two girls who are from two different schools and that have never met before…show up at the same prom…wearing the same dress…in the same color. Yeah. Even a DJ will stop the music when this happens. It’s tense…even if someone passed a “silent but deadly” fart, you would’ve still heard it. Their eyes meet from across the room. As they size each other up; they’re wondering if they can “Tri” to make this work. It’s all good UNTIL one of them overhears in the girls room, “I think she looks better in it though, don’t you?” Oh Hell No. Feathers are now ruffled. It was okay to “Tri” UNTIL you found out you weren’t the cutest in the room…but NOW it’s on! Moments later, both girls are out on the dance floor trying to out dance each other like MC Hammer while their dates are flirting with some chicks near the punch bowl. Don’t be mad when you look all sweaty in your prom pictures. You should have “Tri-ed” harder.
Then…there is The “Mirror Motivator” Competition. This competition can sometimes be the most difficult to handle because you’re competing with yourself which can be very humbling. It can be very motivating especially if you want to make some positive changes in your life, but sucks if you can’t handle waving the white flag from time to time along the way. Accepting a loss and being disappointed is one thing, but to obsess about it every single day and think you’re not good enough that IS a problem. So what if you can’t bench press 200 pounds anymore? Dude, that was ten years ago! Stop competing with your 20 year-old self and work on something a little more realistic. Ok, Homer?
After all, no one can win every single time.
I’ll try to remember that when the kids decide to “help” carry in the grocery bags again.
But next time, I’m definitely holding the eggs.