Competition and The Saints

athletes running on track and field oval in grayscale photography
Photo by Pixabay on

Is it more better to compete with:
1) people at the same level as you?
2) people at a higher skill level as you?

According to Benjamin Hardy in his book Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success, he argues for #2, competing with people at a higher skill level as you.  He wrote:

“Competing with those at your same level yields slow and minimal progress.  You’re better off “competing” with people far advanced to your current level.”

I personally know this from my own experience.  I could have gone to a college that was 1) academically not challenging for me at all and 2) a much lower ranked tennis program.  But I chose to attend a college where many students studied even on Friday nights (but not necessarily of Saturday nights) and where the tennis team was ranked in the top 15 in the country at that time.  Sometimes, I think that it would have been nice 1) to not be so stressed out about grades and 2) to easily dominate on the tennis court to have even more confidence.  BUT, on a skill level, apart from stress and confidence, I was stretched to learn more and play better due to my environment.

One of the all time tennis greats, Pete Sampras, grew up always playing tennis with the age groups higher than him.  He set aside confidence for better skills.

Scientifically, we see in epigenetics,  that the environment is more impactful than the body you were given at birth.

We can look to Charles Darwin, where he argues that men and animals compete  with others of the same skill level.  We can hack this knowledge with placing ourselves with groups of higher skill levels. #theresASayingAboutKnowingALotAboutAPersonByThePeopleTheyAssociateWith

So in education, musical skills, athletic skills, work skills, surround yourself with people better than you.  It might be a blow to your confidence in the short term, but the long term confidence would be higher. #criticismAndLossesCanBothBeWins.

And most importantly, #theBiggestLossInLifeIsToNotBeASaint, immerse yourself with the lives of the saints, as they will push us.  We may not be able to do the hardcore acts of penance that they did such as all night vigils and days of fasting, but we might be able to do more than if we didn’t know them and have relationships with them.  #letsStepItUp

All the saints, pray for us!

Going old school,
Mike Panlilio

8 thoughts on “Competition and The Saints”

  1. Mike, so true! From day one as a Catholic, I read the writings of saints like Faustina, Therese, and Teresa of Avila. Not reading *about* them, but their actual writings. They gave me a clear picture of what I was aiming for, and also made me not surprised when the road to holiness involves great pain. I read a quote today, “Better to fail if it leads to greater humility than succeed if it leads you to arrogance.” Let’s hear it for holy failure, and picking up our cross again and again to follow Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

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