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Ego And The Benefits Of Competing

Is Your Ego Getting In The Way Of Extracting The True Benefits Of Competing

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by Paul Kindzia in Competing
September 18, 2018

Back to back competition weekends provided me a lot of opportunity for observation of other athletes and competitors.  Competition means winners and losers.  Everybody shows up to win, dreaming of winning, hoping to win.

But guess what after the very first round of matches, half the field is eliminated.  Game over.  Thanks for stopping by.  Better luck next time.

All of that work, training, and sacrifice was put into preparing for your big day.  Then you lose in the opening round, or the next round, or the next round after that.  Was everything just a big waste of time?

You would think by the way some athletes respond to a loss in competition.  Some display very poor sportsmanship.  They yell at the referees.  They don’t want to shake hands of their opponents.  They want to blame others.  Or they are super hard on themselves.  Some pout for the rest of the day or for the remainder of the weekend.

Is it ok to be disappointed?  Sure, it’s natural and ok to be disappointed.  But it’s best not to lose all of the benefits of signing up, showing up, biting down on the mouthguard and stepping out on the mats against a fully resisting opponent.

Losing in competition does one thing extremely well.  It exposes holes in your game.  They may be big holes.  They may be small holes.  But there are holes.  Learn from the experience. That’s the real value in competing.

Sometimes you go in with a game plan and then you can’t even get into your gameplan.  That is a learning experience.  What prevented you from getting into your game?  What are 1 to 3 items that you can specifically take out of the experience and start working on when you get back to the gym on Monday?

One thing is for sure.  There shouldn’t be any pouting in jiu-jitsu competitions.  If you are competing, you are on the path to accelerated learning.  Watch the film of your match(s).  Pick out the few items that need addressing the most.  Be honest with yourself.  Go back into the gym and address those items.  Get good at them.  Compete again.  Repeat the process.

I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten smoked in competition.  The difference is sometimes I had to drive 1,000 miles and spend $1,000 dollars to learn those lessons.  Why would I waste that time and money by ignoring the lessons being delivered to me by my opponents?

Ego is our biggest liability.  It gets in the way of all the goodness of jiu-jitsu many times during the process.

If you think about it, you pouted after losing because of ego.  You pouted instead of being grateful for your opponent who revealed the weaknesses in your game.  It’s better to learn those lessons now and capitalize on that wisdom and experience later.  Plugging holes now means more victories later.  You are paying your dues like everybody else who competes.

Remember, it’s a never-ending process.  If you are in it for the long-haul, this process will continue for decades.  There will always be people that are better than us every step of the way.  We just hope to be the best competitor at small moments of time versus our relative competition on a particular gameday.  Then it all resets and starts over again.

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