A lot has been said about Bekele Vs Haile/Targat Vs Haile or any of the sports legends regarding how competing against each other fueled their hunger for improvement so that they could smash world records after world records. I feel among all the runners i have read and heard about, haile stands out because he has lasted the longest. One of the reasons for his longevity could be(for want of any user data) his unwillingness to let others define his running ability. He has felled every world record in long distance running worth its salt but mostly by running against time(himself). He defined a time in which he wanted to run a race and went about his preparations accordingly. Perhaps, that’s what keeps him more at peace with himself and his surroundings than many other athletes.
Sachin Tendulkar is another athlete who has never let others define his agenda for playing. He would go and do just one thing; PLAY.
This also could have been the reason for a longer than average(above average) injury free and sustained career in their respective fields. Because when you run against yourself, you know your limits and never cross them unlike another legend athlete who recently bit dust;lance. Lance’s downfall has as much to do with his obsession to overpower others(define yourself by what others do) than it has to with wrong competitive streak. He epitomizes what’s horribly wrong with competitive sports today.
In our personal and official lives, we often let others define what we want to chase. I feel we can become more sure about what we want and how we want to do it if we let ourselves be driven by only one person in the world(self). That’s not to say that competition does not matter. It does, but not at the cost being obsessed with what others are doing and what they have achieved. Set your goals to moon(or the stars but those need to be your moons/stars not others!!). Competition mostly fuels long term discontentment and jealousy.
Be your own competitor….