Sunday Firesides: Your Worst Competitor Is You

In this fireside, we discuss the dangers of not being your own competitor. There are a lot of ways you can be in competition with yourself, and it’s important to know when that might happen so you can avoid self-destructive behaviors.

The “how to tie a bow tie art of manliness” is an article that discusses how to tie your own bow ties. It talks about some of the worst competitors in life, and how you can compete with them.

“You should only compete with yourself,” says the author. 

“Just strive to be the best version of yourself.”

Such maxims have evolved as guides towards an apparently higher ideal at a period when competing with others has come to be looked upon as unpleasant and superficial — pissing contests for the insecure.

However, like many contemporary bits of wisdom, this idea sounds great in theory but fails miserably in reality.

After numerous rounds of tries, the riders were requested to cycle as quickly as they could on stationary bikes, and their personal records were recorded. Despite the fact that the cyclists were certain they couldn’t ride much faster, virtually all of them were able to break their prior personal bests when they were placed in a simulated race against a putative competition — who was really simply an avatar set to their own best time.

Similar studies have been conducted in the fields of academics, music, and art, all yielding the same conclusion: people perform better while competing against others than when working alone.

That’s because comparing oneself to oneself is tough. 

The self’s priorities are out of sync with your objectives: the self wants to save resources, pursue the route of least resistance, and please the ego. 

It’s subjective if you’re better today than you were yesterday; it’s not subjective whether you’re ahead of or behind someone else. 

However, not everything is a competition, and you should avoid being trapped into games you don’t like. 

However, if you really want to be the greatest in your field, you must compete in a realm outside your own mind.



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