When Competition Gets Complicated

Competition is stressful, and uncertain. It challenges the body, mind, and spirit. That stress is a healthy and necessary vehicle for evolution and progress. Yet when dealing with the pressure, uncertainty and expectation of competition, athletes (and humans in general) often overact to real and perceived stressors. We fixate on outcomes, inflexible perceptions, and external opinions. We lose awareness of what’s happening in the moment, in turn preventing spontaneous, creative, intelligent response.

Under such strain, athletes may win games, or perform adequately, but often, we don’t feel satisfied with the sport experience because the intrinsic, compelling, and creative experience of competition has been lost. 

With the loss of authentic competitive aliveness, and the lack of clear pathway to elevate out of the slump, athletes begin to act out of default survival patterns, and while these patterns may produce perceived results in the short run, in the long term they thwart sustainable growth. The inability to grow and actualize potential becomes the root cause of unhappiness in sport and life. 

Unhappiness shows up in different forms. Athletes become angry, numb, depressed or anxious. They blame, complain, isolate, consume or make excuses. They overwhelm themselves with a desire to fix, improve and perfect. They do more, and in time, become overwhelmed by constant doing. They burn out. 

Some athletes quit, and if they don’t quit, they start going through the motions, always trying never trusting the process, never learning, or growing. In time, performance suffers, and those once vibrant competitors, creators, and contributors find themselves stuck, unconnected, and incomplete. The sport experience becomes meaningless.

The way back into competitive aliveness isn't complicated. Its simple. Embark upon the path of remembering. Remember yourself. Remember why you started. Remember what you love. Don't chase results, or likes, or validation. Don't look beyond yourself. Go within. Ask the question, and discover that the answer is already alive within you, and once you discover the aliveness at your source, you'll naturally expand beyond yourself into new possibility, and into the fullest, most natural expression of yourself and your human potential.

Discover Within, Expand Beyond,