Are you competitive?

Personally I would have always described myself as non competitive. I have never particularly excelled at anything, either academically or sportingly. At school I did OK, but never was top in anything. On sports day I never won anything, being rather slow, and I think the only time I represented my school in anything was at cross country – partly because everyone else hated it!

Some have argued that competition is bad and dents the self esteem of those who don’t win. In the UK some schools now have non competitive sports days where there are no winners or losers – you just take part in glorified obstacle races! Everyone gets prizes and certificates – for taking part. (Then we wonder why our sportsmen and women don’t win much!!!) I’m reminded of the film “Meet the Fockers”, where the Focker parents had a trophy full of their son’s achievements – including a cups for 10th place and similar.

I have to admit, although I described myself as non competitive, my hazy memories of school do bring up images of when I did do well – being the first to get a badge in my Cub pack, swimming 3/4 mile in a sponsored swim, winning a breast stroke race at junior (under 11) school, taking part in that cross country, having an essay read out, and having a prial of 3’s (top hand) when someone else had a prial of 7’s at 3 card brag (a derivative of poker) – that’s about the only thing I can remember from 6th form college….

I now believe competition is good for building self confidence, rather being destructive. I don’t believe it is helpful to protect children from the competitive nature of the modern world. Competition is one way to find out what you are good at, and to push yourself to do better. The photograph of my daughter on a trampoline, left on the header, was originally taken for a competition. I didn’t win, but without the competition I would never has made the effort to create that image, which I have always liked.

The post How to Solve a Problem was was also written as both a competition entry and to complement my piece for Bob Clubb’s Desiderata series. The competition was created by Monika Mundell, a frequent commenter on this site, asking entrants to blog a “tutorial”. Writing my piece, and judging the other entrants, has made me aware of how useful it can be to write in a numbered list format, rather than the jumbled prose style I tend to revert to. Thanks Monika for creating the competition.

All the entrants were good, but I have to chose a top three:-

1) Terry Didcott – How to Install a Self Hosted WordPress Blog
2) Adam – Adding a Blog to Flickr
3) CSS – Simple Photo Editing Using GIMP

Even if I don’t win, I have just noticed I have received another prize. Mr Google has just given me 3 out of 10. In this instance, only scoring 3 (a PageRank) is quite an achievement after blogging for only 6 months.

CSS October 28, 2007 at 12:34 am

Thanks for voting for me!

Monika @ The Writers Manifesto October 29, 2007 at 8:06 am

Hi David,

Loved your mention of “meet the fockers” it is such a funny movie. I certainly count myself to be competitive in some regard, but think that I have mellowed whilst getting older too.

Thanks for posting your votes. The winners will be announced on the 30th.

Monika 🙂

Adam October 29, 2007 at 6:29 pm

Thanks for the Vote David. I am just now going through them, and am finding lots of great posts… I really liked your Problem Solving post.

News Archive October 30, 2007 at 6:23 pm

good luck

David Rogers October 30, 2007 at 10:49 pm

Thanks – I came third. My prize is a site review by monika mundell, who organised the competition.

CSS October 11, 2009 at 6:55 am

Thanks for voting for me!

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