There is a competitor that is relentless. He (she) always wins. With intensity he finally enters the game and everyone waits to see his impact. He patrols the minds of the weak and dictates action and reaction. His attributes are coveted and revered.
He has never lost. Ever.
When you try to emulate his skills you soon falter. He has placed himself on a pedestal that mere mortals can never reach. He is at the mountaintop of excellence and the only footprints there are his. The discipline of his performances is legendary. Matching his focus is a daunting task that can only be met for fleeting moments. His optimism is unparalleled. He moves with a rhythmical dance that is mesmerizing like an aggressive cobra swaying back and forth before it strikes. His gait is a “swagger” that he invented. Matching this athletic strut is nearly impossible for any length of time. He performs with a calm, cool grace and he seems to float while he moves. He has ice water in his veins when the competition heats up. His passion for excellence is radiated from every cell and it cascades on the unprepared and the indecisive ones.
He is revered and admired.
Yes…he is great. There are too few accolades to describe him. Parents love him and want their kids to be him. Teachers and coaches speak of him with respect. He is the role model for all but the true champion.
Dreams are built around this competitor that never loses. He is legend. However, he is NOT your friend and never will be.
Who is this person? Why do we seek to emulate him? Why do we covet his ways? Why do we compare and judge ourselves to what he does?
As competitors, we have an image of who we want to be. Some of us copy his style of play. We serve like him. We walk to the plate like him. We shoot free throws and walk back to the huddle like him. We are obsessed with him. He wakes us up in the morning and trains with us. He picks us up when our bodies refuse to go on.
Emulating this competitor preoccupies our mind. No matter what we do, there is a need to do more. Trying to be like him stresses our muscles, raises our heart rate and increases our breathing even to panic levels.
Because of him we are never good enough.
Our parents and coaches compare us to him. No matter how hard we try, we fall short of his expectation. He frustrates us and has caused many performers to give up and quit. He sprinkles seeds of doubt on our performances because we try to measure up to him.
There are times when we are at one with his performance. We match him step for step. Our strength, quickness and agility rival his best. These are glorious times. We receive positive feedback that we can do this. We can finally reach the pedestal of excellence where he resides. These are fleeting moments when we get a glimpse of how he performs. We embody all that he is about. Then these moments dissipate and vanish. Gone.
Who is this competitor?
His name is PERFECTION. Like the great soccer star Renaldo, no last name is needed. We place PERFECTION in our mind and compete with him daily. Why don’t we know it’s a futile and hopeless endeavor?
It is the true champion that has eliminated PERFECTION from his or her mind. Reaching a high daily performance standard is the only quest. This is the minimum requirement for a satisfactory performance. Great champions realize that PERFECTION doesn’t need to enter the competition in order to garner victory.
Stop comparing yourself to PERFECTION. Eliminate the need to be him (her). Dismiss his call for you to be PERFECT. Do not seek his approval.
Greatness is reaching a high daily standard of performance over a long period of time. PERFECTION is never a part of this equation.
Yes…PERFECTION will enter your performances occasionally. There will be glimpses of his play. This can be intoxicating. It can fuel a parent or coach’s desire for you to try harder to consistently match this impossible level of performance.
As the true champion knows, most performances are lost and not won. A “Let’em lose” mindset will harvest more victories than imagined.
Stop competing with PERFECTION. Eliminate him from your mind before you enter the contest. Get disciplined. Prepare to focus all your energy away from you and on the tactics and strategies you deploy and the objectives and goals you seek. Sell you on you. Relax when the money is on the table and your next move or non-move will dictate the outcome. Only execute the basics of your performance during these “moments of truth.” Enjoy the external competition with mere mortals. Bask in the intensity that the competition rains upon you. Thrive on its challenges.
Know that what you have is enough.
Trying to be PERFECTION has ruined many competitors and competing with this image is futile. You have no chance on a long-term basis. The word t-r-y is an acronym for To Ruin Yourself. Try to be PERFECTION and negative results will follow.
We have all choked at some time in our sport or other competitive endeavor. It is the hands of PERFECTION that grabbed our throat, causing our breathing to labor and our mind to wander. Poor performance, frustration, doubt, disappointment and eventual defeat are the aftermath.
Let go of the “need” for PERFECTION.
Do you need PERFECTION to win? No. Just be your genuine, authentic best self and strive to reach a high performance standard day in and day out. Victories will begin to stack up and you’ll never need to compete with PERFECTION again.