The beauty and beast within competitiveness

The other day, a strange thing happened.

During my commute home (on my bicycle) I got stuck behind an older gentleman who, while maintaining a respectable speed, was traveling a little too slow for my tastes. To make it worse, he’d speed up right as I went to pass him and then slow down on hills or when there was another person in the opposing lane.

(Sound like a familiar tale?)

Nicole M Miller photography

Finally, we reached a wide-open area and I started to pass him. But this was the one dreaded hill of my commute – a long, steady incline that leaves me wobbly and near-blackout stage by the time I hit the top.

I pushed onward. He sped up. Something inside me snapped. I wouldn’t lose — and this hill wouldn’t beat me.

I crested the hill before I even realized it.

The competitive edge in me drove me on and allowed me to conquer something that I normally really struggled with.

How does this apply to our everyday life? A little competition isn’t a bad thing. You want to be constantly pushing yourself and your limits.

Now, if I had been pushing myself to pass some sort of Tour-de-France-looking bicyclist, I honestly would have been setting myself up for failure. I had to wait for the right time and place to move ahead, and I’ve also had to put more than a hundred miles on my bike in the past six weeks in order to be in the sort of shape to make it up that particular hill at anything beyond a crawl.

Put in the miles. Bide your time. Do the work. Use your competitive nature to bump you a bit. But don’t let it go to your head. And encourage all the same.


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Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks