Competitiveness

Are you a competitive person? Do you feel the urge to challenge yourself continuously? Do you set more difficult goals as you achieve the previous ones?

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Granddaughter’s medal for pre-olympic gymnastics

I am not an athletic person, but I have always been competitive in school and at work. I have never refused a challenge and I always thrive to reach higher. As a result I am often stressed if I don’t achieve my goal.

I have friends who shrug when they hear I stayed late to write, or missed an outing to promote a book. Why do you do this to yourself?

They are convinced it’s better to avoid  commitments that would cause  stress. Actually, they are content with what they have. Being relaxed and in good health is more important than achievement and success. They would lecture me for hours to make me understand that hard work might lead to heart attacks.

So, here are the two theories:

The successful man is never content with what he has.

The happy person is one who is content with what she has.

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In my family, two granddaughters are extremely competitive, garnering medals and cups in gymnastic, skating, sailing and karate. Their two young siblings don’t have a single medal, but have a dozen best-friends-forever and are often smiling and laughing. Is it impossible to be successful AND happy?      

 

 

And here my latest achievement, I mean book:MD-Two Loves For Christmas

TWO LOVES FOR CHRISTMAS

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9 Responses to Competitiveness

  1. Carol says:

    Any successful person has experienced stress at some point in their career. The happier ones use that stress for the good of their situation to find a level of beneficial actions. Good luck with your new book!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. E. Ayers says:

    I swear I live with stress. Yet, I have a local writer friend who marches along in her little world happy as can be. What’s the difference between us? I set goals and then stand on my head to meet them. She has no goals and completely believes that a higher power will deliver everything she needs. Somehow, we are best buds.

    I’d say I’m competitive with myself and constantly striving for bigger, better, and greater. And when I don’t meet my goals and expectations, I get upset. But maybe because I participated in team sports where, as an individual, I would win or lose, but I still had teammates to cheer onward for their win. No one wants to see their friends lose! And if you can take the podium with your friends, that’s even better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Mona.

    This is a very big question. My answer is Yes – I do believe it’s possible to be successful and happy. The key as I see it is how you define success.

    I define success – or try to anyway – in terms of how I feel about myself as a person and myself as a human being in the world. I happen to be struggling with both of these issues right now but – as a Christian – I’m not surprised this is happening. The Lenten season is always a time of struggle for me and for a lot of us.

    For me at least the challenge is to define who I am and who I believe I should be then examine how far apart or how close together those two may be. My work is of course a big part of that examination and evaluation and I think the central question in that process is this. Does what I am doing make me come alive? If I can say – yes my work brings me to life in a deeply meaningful way – then I consider myself a success. Answering that question with total hard-nosed honesty can be a difficult exercise involving a lot of wrestling of one part of the self against another but I believe it’s worth the work.

    I suspect that at least some of the stress we all feel as we strain against the seemingly endless demands of this work we’ve chosen – occurs when we’re not truly sure the answer to that question continues to be Yes. When we’re not feeling our work bring us to life the way we want and need that to happen. This often happens because we’ve heaped our plates too impossibly full and we’re uncomfortable – sometimes extremely so – with the pressure and inner conflicts that creates.

    The challenge then – it seems to me – is to find a way back to a sense of joyful aliveness. To figure out where that is and how to get there and maybe to jettison some items from our plates along the way. When we rediscover the love and joy that brought us to this work in the first place – the kind of satisfaction that fills us up with good feelings just from doing what we do – then in my opinion we have come to the place where we are both happy and successful no matter what our sales figures or our bank balances may be.

    Of course that’s just me. You may or may not agree. We each have to find our own balance – what works for both our heads and our hearts. I wish us all good luck and Godspeed with that.

    Blessings. Alice

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mona Risk says:

      Hi Alice, you said here what my husband often tells me when he sees me frustrated because of low sales or editors’ rejections, or too bubbly because of reaching a list or being on Amazon bestsellers list. “Don’t let these results control your mood. Write because you love it so much.”
      I often said that writing soothes me. I laugh and smile and cry when I write. I live in my characters. And then I feel so good when I am back with the living. Of course I annoy the heck out of him when he says something and I don’t even hear him. So if writing a good story equals success, then yes I often feel successful. If selling or reaching lists is success, then I am at the mercy of others and don’t feel successful.
      Incidentally, when I was still working as Director of Analytical Chemistry, I put these two questions to the company’s president and he got annoyed and told me, “Come on, Mona. I plan for me and all our employees to be successful and happy. Don’t go depress them.” He added that I was an example of being both. But at what price!!! I worked sixteen hours a day to compete in a man’s world.

      Like

  4. Joan Reeves says:

    I’m tempted to say: “What Alice said.” But I’ll add this: Success, like happiness, is defined by the individual.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. ginaarditoauthor says:

    I think you can succeed without competing. It’s not an either/or concept for me. I always strive to do my best, not out of a sense of competition, but for the sense of pride it gives me. I’m a giver by nature so I always want to give the best of me. I’ve run on the competition wheel, and the stress made me arrogant, irritable, and impatient. Success includes being happy with who you are. I’m better off leaving the competition to those more suited to it.

    Like

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