All to often in our society your success is labeling winning, as if it were a competition.

Winning_Isnt_NormalNow, I won’t dismiss or argue how much work in necessary to win a competition. There are many excellent traits developed by pursuing excellence in competition. The training and desire to win is not something that comes automatically. Everything from how you act and how you talk can affect winning.

It is also true in winning that there is only one winner for a sport or game. Only one league champion. It is a good feeling to have accomplished winning an award or trophy. It really does take being unusual as well. Many have hears “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” and those who have won something understand what that means. Then again, if everyone gets a trophy, then everyone is usual and no one has actually won…but that’s another post.

CompeteThe focus on winning has become transformed into something that can be more harmful than beneficial. The race to see how many awards and trophies you can win doesn’t help build the proper parts of life.

Scott Sonnon wrote on LinkedIn,
“Competition derives from the Latin “com” and “petere” and literally means: “to seek excellence together.” Unfortunately, sport is vilified because losing is misperceived  as psychological damage – or, it is misperceived as a method to dominate the weak. If you are in a sport, you are all on the same team. You are all striving for betterment together, and the more that you build each up other by giving the opportunity to fall down and lose – to discover vulnerabilities and overcome them together – the greater we all become.”

The trophy will start collecting dust tomorrow. The champions from years past are forgotten. The “win” is merely a goal along your path. A place where you can rest a moment and take a short break before continuing to the next goal. An illustration of how empty winning can be comes from the 2004 or 2005 Minnesota AAU Taekwondo Championships. I took the chance to fight in the Olympic division as a challenge. It turned out that I won the division…because I was the only one in it. So, that didn’t turn out as I hoped and the win was pretty value-less.

I have long been a proponent of holding seminars, rather than tournaments, to promote working toward excellence together. Having the chance to train with people from other backgrounds and insights is an opportunity to never pass up. Recently, we had Bill “Superfoot” Wallace come in to teach a seminar. He presented material that most have worked on before but his presentation and lecture made it fresh. Also, maybe most importantly, it gave many of us a chance to be the student again.

DSC_0066This seminar is also a great example of being on the same team. The adult seminar had 77 people from a variety of rank (though most were 2nd Dan and up). These students were from 12 different schools! The only competition that may have happened during the seminar was the friendly challenge of who could kick higher. Everyone worked to help their partners develop and understand the lesson. There was also the added benefit of sharing a meal and stories afterward!

Compete for the right reasons! Learn, grow and enjoy time with those traveling the path with you.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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