Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Competition…

      Laura and I are lucky enough to live in a very nice neighborhood just outside of Chicago.  We live in a neighborhood where a lot of people do quite well for themselves financially.  Nice cars, nice houses, and from the people that we met a few weeks ago at the block party, nice personalities as well.  We’re not necessarily well off financially yet, raising 5 kids has a way of making sure that happens slowly.  The good news is that Laura’s catering business is going well, I know, shameless plug, I’m sorry, but it’s the best food you can find!  My oldest boy is in the basement right now working on an application to one of the academy’s that our school district provides.  He’s working to get into the STEM academy, he’s in the gifted program.  My oldest daughter is taking AP classes in high school.  My twin girls are on one of the better soccer teams for their age in the state, and performing well in school, and my youngest is in a dual language gifted program where he spends half his day learning amazing things in Spanish. My point in talking about all this isn’t to brag.  All of this got me thinking about competition.  The other day the oldest boy was stressed about the application process for the academy and everything he had going on.  I’ve always tried to raise my kids with the sense that as long as they tried their best and worked hard, that’s all that really mattered.  Up until now, and truthfully for probably 85% of things in life, that will be enough.  If you work hard and try your best, things are going to generally work in your favor.  This still leaves that other 15% though right.  Obviously like most other statistics this stat is completely made up, but I think the number is at least somewhat accurate.  Anyway, sometimes, pick your percentage, your best and working hard aren’t going to be enough.  You’re going to fail despite your best efforts, or someone out there is going to work harder, or their best is going to be better than your best and you are going to miss out on something.  Competition.  This isn’t a new concept by a long shot.  I’ve written about competing against yourself and the differences between winning and success.  There are approximately 4,326,921,371 (more made up math) motivational memes on the internet just waiting for you to print out and put on the wall to make you feel ready to go out and tackle the day.  The thoughts around competition that I’ve been thinking about with all of this and what I said in the opening paragraph are around: Are we competing for what matters?  All these people in nice houses, would they be just as happy in a more modest house; or a more modest car?   What about the kids?  Would the girls be just as happy on a team that didn’t play at such a high level?  What about grades?  I’ve got 3 kids taking advanced classes, and two that are in regular classes.  Is one kid now more worthy somehow?  My favorite example of competition thus far has been while driving, does it really matter if that car coming up on my right sneaks in ahead of me when IT’S PAINFULLY OBVIOUS CARS ARE STOPPED AHEAD AND YOUR LANE IS ENDING!!!  That still really ticks me off…
My point here is that some competition doesn’t matter.  As much as it irritates me, the driving example doesn’t matter.  Houses, cars, and other nice to have things, those are obviously paid for with jobs, and as long as you love what you’re doing, there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with something you like.  If you’re simply getting that new car or TV to keep up with Chuck next door, then you’re probably falling on the unhealthy side of competition.  What it really gets down to for me is, how do I frame things for the kids as they get older?  We’ve always talked about how an education is the key to everything in life.  Getting an education will allow them to do what they want to do.  Obviously there are always going to be people that are left out to find something else.  If the boy gets a spot in an academy that means there’s a spot another kid won’t be getting.  If he doesn’t get a spot, I would use that as an opportunity for a teachable moment talking about rebounding from failure and preparing for the next thing he wants.  I think that’s what is important in this competition discussion.  Are you competing for what you want?  The girls love playing soccer, and love having the competition and the challenge of playing new and tougher teams.  Win or lose, they are competing for the right reasons.  We encourage the kids to continue and “compete” against themselves in school because that’s going to open doors and opportunities.  Again, competing for the right reasons.  We’re going to continue to grow Laura’s business because she loves what she’s doing, and I love being able to help with the non cooking aspects of the business.  I know, two shameless plugs in one article…

I don’t know if any of this will resonate with you out there but I hope it makes sense.  Obviously there are always going to be winners and losers, and that’s fine.  I hope you take the time to think about what you’re competing for, and that it matters to you.

3 comments:

  1. I understand this my queation isbof topic.. How do you feel whole after being in a relatuonahip with a sociopath. Im from australia.. She gotbme to come to america where i have no friends nor family to hurt me over and over and over. And over.. Im sonhurt and lost i cant even go home.. Emotionally broken

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