Having been delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Olympic Games ended earlier this week in Japan.
Athletes from the UK, competing under the ‘Team GB’ banner won 65 medals to finish fourth overall. A total of 93 countries won at least one medal and the USA topped the table with 113 medal winners.
As ever, there were some outstanding and inspiring stories and impressive efforts from the competitors at these delayed games. ‘Team GB’ saw our youngest-ever medal winner with 13yo Sky Brown winning the Bronze in Skateboarding.
The toil and sacrifice over recent years paid off for some while last minute injury or illness put paid to the chances of others.
Athletes have had to train and compete for an additional year and under COVID-restrictions. Perhaps they’ll gain some comfort knowing the next games are only three years away and ‘Paris 2024’ their new target.
The vast majority of us will never be Olympic athletes, regardless of our sporting interests or abilities. We can only look on in admiration at those who do make it to that level in their chosen sport. All the coverage of the Olympic games reminds us that we all have competitors in our every day lives.
Perhaps not as intensive as Olympic competition but potentially life-changing all the same. If we apply for a job, there will be other applicants and they will be our competitors.
Having competition should not put us off trying something new or striving to achieve an ambition of ours. Whichever way we turn, we are likely to face competition. Rather than being a negative thing, perhaps we can use it to spur us on to our best efforts.
Anyone starting their own business, baking cakes, being a builder or even a coach will find others already doing that. How many cake-bakers, builders or coaches do we need?
Should a new baker, builder or coach be put off by knowing they have established competition in their chosen business?
Or should they follow their dream or ambition and do something they feel instinctively drawn to?
Our only true competition is ourselves and any comparison we make should be to check our progress. How are we doing now compared to a month ago? Six months ago? A year ago? That is the true measure of how we are doing.
If we’re heading in the direction we wish to travel, all should be good and positive. If not, perhaps we need to reassess our aim and direction.
‘Desiderata’ offers us sound and worthy advice in dealing with competition:
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career,
however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”