Maybe it stems from playing football in high school in a "Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing" program. Maybe it’s from playing pool for food money in college. Maybe it’s just wired into my DNA. Where ever it comes from, I’ve tended towards being competitive. Results were not just the goal, they were the only reason for the participating.
In some situations that mentality is not only good, it is the only rational choice.
In some environments it is rather counter productive. When it is counter productive, all else falls by the wayside and it can exact a toll on your personal life, relationships with other people and rob you of joy.
All too often I let all else fall by the wayside. Don’t misunderstand me, there are situations when doing whatever it takes to succeed is the way to go.
There is an element of joy in triumph. But it is a false joy when the situation wasn’t really a competition.
It is not be the only way of looking at life. The folks I met thru fly fishing taught me that.
What brought on this bout of navel gazing? Frets. The fret board of a guitar has re-entered my life. As I work on getting better at playing, it occurs to me that my goal is not to be better than everyone else. I see those guys who are technically gifted but for some of them their music lacks a certain something. The players I admire seem to have an understanding of their instrument and relationship with their music that transcends playing 32 notes a second. They are able to express themselves and it only seems to happen, to my ear, when they are comfortable with the point they are at in that exact moment. That is what I strive for. Doesn’t matter whether it is realistic and I don’t care if I get there. Reaching the destination is not the goal. Getting there, no matter how unlikely, is just a bonus if it happens. Will I ever reach that level? Probably not. A lack of talent, age and injuries all take their toll.
I do care about being on the journey. The journey for me is about striving towards being better than yesterday. There really is no end destination or final point, it is just a journey. The journey is enough.