For all my competitive people out there, have you ever found yourself in a losing situation? Nothing is going your way, or your opponent is just objectively better than you. However, you’re such a competitor that you keep trying, yet it’s only causing you to get more and more upset at your own futility.
Well, if you think you’ve ever been in a situation like this, then I’m going to prescribe you a healthy dose of giving up. All you have to do is throw in the towel, call it a day and coast your way to the finish line.
It might seem counterintuitive to much of what we’re taught by our favorite kids shows, which is to simply wait for the power of friendship to kick in so that you can push past your limits and win the unwinnable fight.
But what if the temptation to give up isn’t just an admission of defeat?
You see, I’ve been on the short end of a blowout competition before, in sports and other games. Particularly in team affairs where morale is something that is collectively shared, the mood can turn sour pretty quickly.
A change in mood can not only drastically impact one’s performance, a performance change that is often negative, but also it can ruin one’s overall enjoyment in the face of such insurmountable odds.
Recently, the ultimate frisbee club competed at our sectionals tournament and found ourselves pitted against Iowa and Iowa State’s teams, both of which were ranked more than a hundred spots ahead of our team.
Very early into the matches, it was obvious that these teams were more talented and more experienced than us. However, instead of letting the negative energy get to us, it became paramount that we kept our sideline in the game by maintaining the hype.
Dancing on the line before playing a point, going ballistic after scoring a point and joking with the very opponent who’s running away with the game became staples in these matches.
Is it difficult to maintain? Of course. But those games were much more fun than they would have been if I didn’t let loose and give up on trying to win.
The stress of overanalyzing how you’ve played and the feelings of complete defeat are replaced by a carefree vibe. For once, I understood how people who play a game for the first time with people who’ve definitely played more than once, based on the advanced strategies they’re pulling out, feel.
At the same time, I don’t think this attitude only has to be applied to competitions or games. In my experience, people who understand their limits are well respected not only because of their mature outlook on who they are but also because they can recognize when it’s time to not stress anymore.
As a result, I think we can all do ourselves a favor by caring a little less about the things in life that are out of our grasp. When you recognize that things don’t always go your way and that it’s fine to just not care about the result, life becomes a lot more manageable.
After all, there’s only so much we can stress about before that negativity comes back to bite us.