A week or so ago, Adam and I attended a jiu-jitsu tournament here in Denver, Colorado that was put on by Grappling Industries. Adam, as a brown belt, didn't compete but he coached me (a blue belt) and some of our other teammates. A lot of people shy away from competition, but I believe that it's extremely healthy and is something to seek out. Here's why.
1. It shows you your strengths and weaknesses.
It's easy to lie to ourselves. It's easy to say "I'm strong" or "I can handle myself in a fight" or even "I could sell that." It's much much harder to put our egos on the line and see if that's actually true. The closer the competition is to our passion, the harder it gets.
But it also gets more important. Competing at your chosen craft (for us, jiu-jitsu. For you, maybe it's racing, sales, powerlifting, ice skating, or nearly anything) can really bring your weaknesses out. It's the most true way to know where you stand and how to get better. It also shows you what you're good at, which gives you unshakeable confidence in your ability.
2. It brings your entire being to bear
That's the best way I can describe the feeling. When you're focused on a goal and you have to beat other people for the same goal, you get extremely focused. You find a glory in the work, knowing that it will all be worth it when that gold medal is draped around your neck. To me, giving your all to a competition is one of the best feelings in the world. Especially when you move up a level and the competition is higher, you have to take full stock of where you're at. You have to invest more, but you also get more out of it.
3. You earn your rest.
How many times have you taken a Saturday off to do nothing? Watch football or a UFC card, have some drinks with your friends, and just lounged around? I've done it more times than I care to admit.
The thing with training hard for a competition is that you don't get the guilty feeling when you take hard-earned days off. Knowing that you've earned your rest allows you to fully enjoy it, instead of feeling like you should be doing something. That's just as important as enjoying your work.
These are just three of the reasons why I love competing at any level. Whether you're a world champion fighter or simply love playing beer league softball with your friends, competing lights a fire you'd never have otherwise.
Here's to a better you!