As it would turn out, one of my favorite movies to quote revealed something I’ve dealt with my entire life. I’m scared of being last in a competition that doesn’t exist.
Competition and Last Place
I’ve never considered myself competitive. I realize now, though, that I am in fact very competitive. I’ve been telling myself I’m not competitive to avoid the hidden aggression I feel during competition.
In third grade, I continuously got in trouble for trying to race one of my classmates. Once the teacher handed out a test, it was game on. I would scribble answers on a sheet of paper, likely all wrong, to see if I could turn mine in first.
The issue is I wasn’t leaving time to think about the question and answer, or the problem I was solving. The competition became more important than the answer or solution.
- What good is being first if things are more wrong than right?
- What good is being first if the result is sloppy work?
- What good is being first if you didn't add value to the problem?
It turns out that being first in that situation might have made me “finish” last. Nineteen years later I can still see that trait now and then.
I have to slow down, take a step back and remember “If you ain’t first” you’re not last. In fact, you’re likely in a better spot than “first.”
This fake competition is something I’ve learned from mindfulness, too.