Thoughts on Life

Small (but not tiny) thought: Competition

by Leandra Medine Cohen
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I used to tell myself that being competitive would make me more prone to acting petty because when you lose after you’ve tried really hard, it can seem kind of earth-shattering, which I guess is a view that depends on how fragile you are but lately, I have been thinking that maybe some of the most competitive among us are able to sustain the tendency because they don’t care as much when they lose.

It’s like you go out there and you give it your best shot — your honest best shot, no reservation barred — and when you win, fuck yeah you won: you practiced and focused and built up all that determination and it paid off! You won! High ensues, high depletes.

And when you lose, yeah, you did really lose: you practiced and focused and built up all that determination and there are no excuses to hide behind because you gave it your all and you lost. It’s vulnerable, really, but maybe there is some relief in that too because you really did give it your all, and that means there’s no point in laboring over what would have happened if you’d done more (you gave it your all), or why the winner won (it’s irrelevant to you).

So you look at what’s left, which is the actual game and you realize, oh, it’s a game. And either you’re petrified or relieved when the subsequent thought comes: there will be another game. There’s always a next one.

Sometimes I think a common denominator among the most electric storytellers and visionaries and builders and plebes is that they’re meaning makers and part of the meaning they make revolves around it being their destiny to do or make The Most Important Thing Ever and it’s a beautiful thing that often makes beautiful things but only some of us try, lots of us don’t and for sure there is a difference in outlook between those who go near the electricity and those who do not, but I wonder if what makes those who are able to sustain the electricity so able is that at some point they realize that their Thing doesn’t have to be the Most Important Ever. Just important enough to them.

Yeah, maybe they come to see there is no zero-sum winner and then reason that there’s no zero-sum loser either. So they suspend —no! surrender—the brittle thinking-in-ranks and let out a little laugh as they fall, then get up, then exhale or wonder, when’s the next game?