Through out life you are faced with challenges that you have to overcome. These challenges come in many forms, some are natural hurdles like illness and injury, some are self made challenges like personal goals or sports, there are so many types.
I myself am a very competitive person, always have been since a young age. Perhaps because I have an older brother, perhaps its just in my nature. I will challenge myself with personal goals be it in the gym, on the sports field or even at home.
Having a competitive mindset has made me become good at things and stronger both physically and mentally, I think it has made me into a better person. However, I’ve also found that with a competitive nature you have to acknowledge failure, and this is a fundamental part of becoming a winner. You have to work hard to get success in anything you do, as the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’.
I have now noticed that Bobby, my son, has a very competitive mindset. He will challenge me to races, play fights, games, anything with a score attached. Anything where there is a winner or a loser. It is with this that I have had to adapt my style of play.
If you are of a likewise competitive nature and have children you may be all too aware of what I am talking about.
Bobby’s competitive mindset is a product of mine, since he has been old enough to play games, me and him have challenged each other. Much like me and brother would do when we were his age.
Bobby is aware that I have achieved success through sport, he’s seen trophies with my name written on them, from my footballing days, he’s seen footage of me winning a Mixed Martial Arts fight, he’s seen me win the dad’s race at sports day, he’s seen me as a winner. The part he didn’t see was the hours kicking a football against a wall, or the hours sparring in the cage, or lifting weights in the gym, training, practicing.
The one thing I forgot when teaching Bobby about success and whether he won through his own ability or if I had given him a sporting advantage, was to also show him it was okay to fail, to lose, to be second best, first runner up. Which ever way you sugar coat it, some one was better than you on the day.
Now, I have had to go back to square one and teach him just that, that it’s okay to come second. To take it on the chin, to pick your self up and get back to it. A pretty standard part of competition you might think, but when a little boy wants to win, it is everything to them. They will do everything to achieve it.
The turning point for me was when we were play fighting, rolling around trying to pin one another. A little like WWE vs MMA just minus the violence. It was at this point that I had won, having just lost two times I might add. Bobby stopped and started to cry, at first I thought I had hurt him. But no, he went on to tell me, that he wants to be just like me, he wants to be as fast as me, as strong as me, as big as me, as good as me, better than me!
Hearing such truth came as a confusing moment for me, then I realised that he idolised me, I’m his hero, and he wants to be as good if not better than me. This filled me with pride, and we had a massive father son heart to heart.
In this heart to heart I told him, that it’s okay to lose, it just tells you, you need to practice more, go back to the drawing board. I told him, that with success comes failure, with winners come losers. I told him that patience is a virtue and although you want now to be a big strong boy, it takes time to develop, like it takes time to practice and develop skills.
With that I had a break through, I had turned a ‘sore loser’ mindset into a focused competitive mindset.
It is a conflict of success and competition, you wont always win, but if you do your best you can be just as proud as the winner. To be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.
Don’t make my mistake, show you child it’s okay if you’re not the best yet.