Competition is Motivating, But It Isn’t Enough

I will never forget the moment I became a World Champion sharpshooter. Standing on the podium, looking out at the cheering crowd, it was a scene unlike anything I could have imagined. An unexpected surge of deep gratitude rose up within myself as I realized this hard-earned goal.

And still, in this moment—as my goal to become “best in the world” materialized—I felt a lack. Fortunately, I was prepared for this lack:

Quite early in my sports career, I realized that I needed a passion more deeply rooted than in a want to simply stand on a podium. I understood that achieving this goal would not stir the person at my inner core—up on the podium, I would still be the same Christina that I was the day before and would be the day after. In fact, I believe that this insight was one of the reasons why it took years for me to become the World Champion; this goal was rooted in competition rather than my own capabilities, thereby limiting my potential.

You see, while competition is an enjoyable and healthy part of the human experience, it isn’t enough to create genuine fulfillment. At its core, competition is a comparative effort—one person strives to be better than another. In this situation, you are driven by external motivators rather than those tied to your inner core, in which your full capabilities lie. When we are motivated by our own potential rather than our potential in relation to others, we can access the full range of our intrinsic abilities. It is here, free of any expectations and outside influence, that we perform at our best.