Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Biggest Competition

When I’m with family or friends, we usually play board games to pass the time. I love playing games, but I find that I’m not a particularly competitive person. That is, I’m not competitive with other people, but boy am I competitive with myself!

No matter what I do, it seems I’m always trying to top myself. This has come as a bit of a surprise to me, though I should have seen the signs. In Scrabble, I try to outdo myself with each word; the goal of Solitaire is to win as many times as I can; Beatles Rock Band is all about playing each song better than last time. I don’t worry about how everyone else is doing, just about outdoing myself.

I’m not this way only with games, but in all areas. Usually, it’s a good thing. At work, I find ways to be even more efficient. In hot yoga, I commit to getting through more poses. But I am also in competition with myself in areas where I probably shouldn’t be, like writing. This would be fine, except that, for me, writing is about creativity, catharsis, and tapping into things I hadn’t considered before. These don’t mix with competition.

I made this realization a few weeks ago, when I was thinking about the Legendary Latinas series I wrote last year in honor of Women’s History Month. I remember how much time and energy I put into that and the positive feedback I got. It occurred to me that March is coming up and I convinced myself that I had to do something better this year. Ever since, I’ve been scrambling for ideas and looking for inspiration everywhere I turn. I panicked a couple of days ago when still nothing had come to me, and that’s when I saw how ridiculous I was being. Nobody expects me to top myself, and even if they did, writing is so subjective that it’s impossible for me to “win.”

I still don’t know what I’ll write for March, but my new goal is to keep my competitive spirit in check.

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