As kids we were constantly competing in Boise - we had bike races, we played tag and hide-and-seek and every sport under the sun. We did reading and writing contests. We did spelling contests and we competed to see who could memorize all 50 states. As we went through life we had test scores, grade point averages and possible college acceptances to keep us sharp mentally.
It is natural for humans to compete. Not only is it natural, but competition is vital to healthy emotional and physical living. Now, as we live our adult lives, when was the last time we competed? Do we go outside and run races or play tag at lunch? When was the last time we had adrenaline flowing and stepped to the line to challenge everyone that wanted to compete?
Unfortunately, too often these days, "competition" involves "winning" something when the competition is not really a healthy activity. EBay has been phenomenally successful telling us we have "won". What did we win? We paid what we thought was a fair price for something. This would be similar to the gas station giving us huge congratulations as we "won" the tank of gas we just paid for.
Some of us have replaced our own competing by becoming fanatical fans of other competitions. We can get some competitive juices flowing by cheering for our favorite college or professional team each game day. We can follow the trials and challenges of our chosen team and feel like we are part of the action.
Far too often, as we have grown up and become adults, we have lost those everyday occurrences of competition. We might get some feeling of "winning" when we find a 2 for 1 sale at our favorite store. We might get some excitement "winning" an item on EBay or having our favorite team win on Saturday afternoon.
This past Saturday morning I went to the race in Boise. It was a huge event and people had to park a long distance from the start. No one seemed to mind, there were people loading kids in strollers, dogs getting put on leashes, young adults walking down the sidewalk talking and pulling on their race shirts. The energy and excitement of the morning was contagious as everyone was getting ready to compete. Some were planning to win the race while others just wanted to see if they could finish. Some came to challenge everyone and others just to challenge themselves.
I encourage all of us to get involved in more competition. Whether it be sports or intellectual pursuits or individual accomplishments. Compete with yourself to see if you can get up 1 hour earlier each Saturday for a month. See how many to-do list items you can do before noon on your day off. Park as far away from your destination as possible and see how fast you can walk to the entrance. Competition is awakening, it is fun and it brings out the kid in all of us. People that compete stay young, mentally and physically. Who knows, you might even lose some weight.