Thursday, June 15, 2017

Do you do your best under competition?

We are sailing and the wind is at our back and the choppy sea at our front. At 10 knot winds, with gusts up to 13 knots, the boat is cruising along at a hefty pace. Tacking takes a lot of energy to do with lightning speed and you can find yourself wearing out quickly if there is lots of activity. These are the times we often find ourselves doing our best.

Competition brings out skills we didn't know we had. It offers short term bursts of energy where the only measurement is you against your competition. As they improve their game, you improve yours. As each of you eyeball each other a dance of increasing performance ensues.

Most of time we do what is necessary to get along. We don't expend extra effort unless there is a legitimate reason to do so. In a race, both sides are expending as much energy as they can in order to inch in front of their competitors. Without this constant push it is unlikely you will win the race or reach new heights in performance.

Competition is only part about winning. Much of it has to do with actually reaching new levels. A little stress can go a long way. When sailing, the push toward getting all the power out of the sails and shaving minutes off of your tacking is important. The last race I had sore arms for three days but the overall experience in seeing where I can go was important. Learning through fire!

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