I spent this past weekend in Rockford with the kids at a soccer tournament. It was great. They had fun staying in a hotel and all that other stuff that goes along with road trips, and I got to watch them compete and work toward something. This tournament as with most in the world of travel soccer handed out trophies for first and second place. There were no participation trophies, no awards for simply showing up. 3 of the 4 ended up doing well enough to come home with a little bit of hardware. I’m ok with that. We don’t all need trophies. In fact I think it does a disservice to the kids when they do get rewarded in that way for simply showing up. From the start of the article, this thing could go down the path of what’s wrong with kids today, and creating a generation of blah blah blah… We’ve all heard that before, and for the most part I think it’s nonsense. What I want to focus on is the simple aspect of competing. Whether it be our kids, ourselves, against others, or against ourselves. The thing I kept coming back to over and over during the weekend is how much I liked watching the kids compete. Winning or losing ended up being irrelevant in my eyes. Putting the kids in a position to test and challenge themselves mentally and physically, then watching how they dealt with the outcome was the highlight of my weekend, and really the reason I put them in athletics to begin with.
I recently saw one of these inspirational notes on Facebook that talked about how most entrepreneurs fail almost 4 times on average before they find something that sticks. How does a person learn to deal with the rejection and disappointment of those 4 failed opportunities? My thought is through competition. I don’t care if it’s something athletic, chess, coding competitions, or attempting to beat your last cross stitch record(I admittedly know nothing of cross stitch, how you would time it, or set any record to be broken in the activity.) I feel like a person needs to be putting themselves out there, even against themselves to be measured and I guess judged in order to better themselves. A point here that I don’t think I can make clear enough is that this is not a call to always be successful at said competition. In fact in a call back to an earlier entry, my dad would always say after a somewhat humiliating loss in basketball, that it built character. Winning or losing really does become irrelevant. That’s kind of a hard concept to wrap my head around. This world is pretty much based on winning right? You want the bonus at work, you want to date the prom queen, you want the quickest checkout line at the grocery store. Those are all forms of winning. Admittedly odd forms, but call me out if you think I’m wrong with that. So how do I justify the statement that winning or losing is irrelevant? I think the answer there is that by simply competing enough and allowing yourself to fail and get back up, you’re going to be successful. That, in my eyes, is much better than winning. Maybe that’s the answer, success is a different thing than winning. Winning may very well be a by product of success, but at the end of the day I don’t want my kids to win, I don’t want to win at least at all things. I want for all of us to be successful. I think to do that sometimes you have to go home without a trophy.
This is just scratching the surface on this competing in order to be successful topic, but I think it's an interesting place to start. Is there a difference between success and winning? I'd say winning is a one time deal with somewhat instant gratification. Success on the other hand is a sustained thing that is worked much harder for.
What say you?