Losing is Valuable when Winning is Everything: Why I Compete

The greatest benefit I get from competition is when I lose, having given everything I can to win. Let me explain…

Miyao-cryingI believe that competition is one of the most potent catalysts for honest self-analysis. I’m not just talking about jiu jitsu. In the hours and days after a tough tournament loss, I’ll often struggle with the question of “what the hell am I doing with my life?” That question can take many forms from the small to the big, from “why the hell is my butterfly sweep not working?” to “why the hell am I not pursuing the job I’ve always dreamed of having?” Through this process of questioning, I arrive at new resolutions, changes in everything from daily rituals to long-term goals. And then, the hard work begins. In this way, competition presents the sobering catch-22 of life that we often grow the most from failure. We find ourselves not in the achievement of our dreams, but in the grind toward them…

“I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself.”
– Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

PS: Check out my conversation with Ryan Hall about the value of competition:

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