I was in a yoga class last week and the instructor said something that really resonated with me. She said “strive to excel, not to compete.” At that moment, a light bulb went off in my head.
Everywhere people are competing with each other. We competed in our careers, while playing video games, while driving, for money, athletically, and so on. I even find myself competing with others in yoga classes. It is a part of our nature; I mean survival of the fittest right?!
Aside from all the moments I am trying to be better than someone else, while running I can honestly say I have never felt like I am competing with anyone. Maybe that is why for so long I wouldn’t call myself a runner? Maybe that is why it took so long for me to sign up for a 5k/Half/Full Marathon? Maybe that is why I never call my runs “races”?! (The light bulb keeps going off!!) 🙂 For whatever reason though, running has always been an activity to better myself, for myself. *
Without competition though, sometimes my motivation falls. It is so much easier to say “maybe tomorrow” when the competition isn’t there but I have learned the power of goal setting. Instead of competing with other people, I try to reach a goal or run toward my own finish lines – if you will. Goals give me a direction and a sense of motivation. While training, I don’t need to out run anyone, I just need to move forward.
Until that yoga class, striving to excel always seemed a little hazy. All I really knew was that I was trying to move forward. Now it is clear. I don’t try to win, I strive for new personal records; to excel not to compete.
You do you, and I’ll do me.
*Full disclosure: I have never run competitively on any team or a part of any group. I can imagine that personal excellence is a driving factor to people who have run for year, and have professional titles.