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366 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 84

March 24, 2016

Competition

What activity, task, or game most brings out your competitive
streak?

I don’t have a competitive streak. Well, I should clarify that. I only compete with myself.

I learned early on the dangers of being overly competitive. It happens when you are a middle child. You either learn to be ruthless to gain attention, or you just go off by yourself and don’t compete. I chose the later. Growing up as a middle child, it was hard to get attention with an older sister who stayed in constant trouble and vied for my mother’s attention, and a younger brother who was adorable, the baby, and everyone’s darling. I was quiet, bookish, and generally there but not seen, if you know what I mean. It was just easier for me to do my own thing, subtly without attention, than to be loud and obnoxious. The few times I did try to compete for attention ended badly, usually with my parents wondering who this strange creature was (me) who had possessed their child. My siblings would glare at me and secretly plot to bring me down, and they usually did by ganging up on me. Competition just wasn’t in my blood.

I never played sports, so competing wasn’t ingrained into me by a coach. I did participate in essay competitions, but I didn’t really care if I won or lost. I just wrote the best essays I knew how and presented them in my awkward manner – nervous, scratchy voice, no eye contact. It was hard for me as an introvert to speak in public. That only lasted one year in high school and I soon dropped out of it. I’ve even competed in a few poetry contests, but that was easy enough. I just wrote poetry and submitted it. No contact. If I won (and I did a few) then I was happy. If I lost, oh well, I just went on and wrote more poetry.

We didn’t play a lot of games when I was growing up. My dad did teach us to play Dr. Pepper which is similar to Rummy. We would gather around the kitchen table and play – me, Dad, brother and sister. Mom rarely played. Dad was a good teacher and I learned pretty well. I didn’t always win, but I had my moments. I wasn’t a sore loser, that was my brother’s role. His temper tantrums were enough to swear me off of being a sore loser. I played a few games with ex-boyfriends who were also sore losers if I won. Eventually, I just got to the point that I didn’t want to be around angry losers and stopped playing games. That got me into quite a bit of hot water when I was in psych hospitals and we had game sessions. I would refuse to play and get points taken off of my good behavior records. I didn’t care though.

So this brings me back to my initial statement: I only compete with myself. And it’s true. I set goals and time limits for myself and see how well I can reach the goals within the time given. It’s a lot of fun and if I achieve my goals, then I celebrate. If I don’t, I tweak my goals to fit my level of success in previous goals. There’s no anger, no tantrums, and no stress.

How about you, dear readers? Are you competitive? If so, do you think that is a good quality or a bad quality about yourself? If you aren’t, why not? Share your thoughts with me in comments.

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9 Comments
  1. Number two of four here, borderline INFJ/INTJ. Competitive? Sure. Always had to compete with my older brother and always felt I was losing. There days I compete with myself, and still feel that I’m losing!

    • Oh wow… so a middle child too, in a sense… I am an INFJ. Sorry you had to compete with your brother.. and wow, feel like you are losing with yourself too… I guess I do know that feeling some days 🙂 Thank you for sharing with me, Keith!

  2. I am competitive–and I spend far too much time comparing myself to others, which does nobody any good. You’re right to only compete with yourself–that’s the only thing we can control.

    • Thanks Stephanie.. I used to do the comparison thing too, but you are right, it does nobody any good. Thank you for sharing with me 🙂

  3. I’m very competitive, but quietly so, most of the time folks don’t even realize I’m so engaged. I hate sore losers and refuse to be one, but I also hate sore winners and strive never to be so arrogant. I was the second oldest in a family of 5 children (older brother). Competition was high, but like you I liked the background. Especially when trying to gain attention only meant more abuse!

    • Ah, you are one of those great competitors then 😀 Sorry to hear that there was abuse, Yolanda 😦

  4. I was a middle child too so I completely understand where you are coming from!

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