Whether we stretch further faster is personal and usually more connected to ‘how much does it matter’ to us, complexities of time, energy and other competing values and tugging forces in our lives …
Mixed emotions not easily described in terms of love/hate, yin/yan – yet there is something magical that happens when we win. Often, more magical when we don’t. Sometimes that manifests in self-kicks to the rear because we stumbled, sometimes envy of someone’s more polished product …
Semi-annually – in my Toastmasters world, we compete. Not everyone. Many of us, every chance we get. Spring and fall. Winners advance. Round upon round, competition and intensity builds – quality of content, caliber of performance. Critique and support of peers. To say nothing of nervous belly juices, adrenalin and secret sauce, distinguishing and separating super from superb, superb from superlative.
Secret sauce, unknown, missing ingredient, that X factor.
Last night. Amazement, stunning, extraordinary and successful performance by someone I admire lifted the proverbial bar so so so much higher. [Second of two nights in a row, I was in two competitions. Second night in a row: won one, lost one. Last night, the one I lost, was such a delicious loss. John, winner – friend, gave a spectacular performance. He deserved his win. Facing him nexct time will be an incredible challenge. He won’t be the same – his game will be raised. He will be better!]
Interesting to encounter a competitor doing something that good so early on. While I wish him well, I know down deep the only way I can advance this spring will to best him at our next encounter. He will polish, improve and practice. Which means, as great as he was last night, he’ll be even more formidable competition …
I’m his cheerleader. But I’m also my own.
Of course, the correct path to victory is not to be better than friend or neighbor, but to be our own better self, because there will always be another someone who is better yet …
If I’d won, I’d be self-satisfied and comfortable this morning. Probably smug and confident.
Instead, I now need to stretch high and dig deep.
Then, deeper still.
And yes, nothing in the world requires that I do any of this. It is 100% self-inflicted. And joyful.
Oh yeah … I love this.
I really do.
Most of us, any given day, spend very little time or effort to solve problems of the world, or problems of our neighbor – because we are so focused on solving for X. Algebra and logic help, but not much. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs helps, but not enough. Solving for that unknown, undefined, un-quantified object – the self.
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: 2C/36F, we walked late along a wall of parked cars where an empty street used to be … a strange perspective in my mind from last night’s angst to today’s challenges – an important meeting and a call and paper-pushin’ laden day awaits … and, rehearsing new material
If you liked any Musing column, it would mean a lot to me if you would respond. Comments are welcome, so please contribute to the discussion. To reply, use: email@example.com . You can also connect with me on LinkedIn . You can sign up your friends here at MarkMusing.com . This site is updated daily, each column is retained in the archive when the next day's column is loaded ...
I also publish FACILITYCalgary, a weekly newsletter, free every Tuesday. To sign up, CLICK HERE