The way I look at it now, I don’t see that ever happening.
To understand why competitions are not my thing, I need to take you back to my childhood.
Growing up as the son of a minister, I lived in a glass house. All eyes were on us as a family, and as children, my sister and I were always expected to be the best. A decent B plus was not acceptable. Only A’s would do.
MY FIRST CONTEST
When I was seven years old, I took part in a competition organized by the local library. They were looking for the best young narrators who were tested by having to read a short story to the audience. Little did I know that I would eventually become a professional storyteller!
Months before the competition, my mother started prepping me. Instead of playing outside with other kids, I had to practice, practice, practice… until I made no mistakes.
By the time the event was held, I practically knew the story by heart, and I hated it more than anything. When it was my turn to read, I obediently did what was expected of me, and I walked away with first prize. I was such a good boy. Always doing what I was told.
At home I violently threw the shiny medal into a corner, and asked my mom: “Can I play with my friends now, PLEASE?”
“When you behave like that, absolutely not,” said my mom. “Go to your room and think about what you just did. I am so disappointed in you!”
But things got even worse on Monday when I returned to school. Kids had seen a photo of me in the paper, holding up my medal, and they started mocking me.
They said the contest was rigged and I had only won because I was the son of the minister. They called me names and threw things at me in class.
I was a good student. One of the best to be exact, and every time I got a top grade, other kids resented me. They called me “Paul the professor” and a “smartass.” I didn’t show it, but it hurt. Since when was being good at something a bad thing, and why?
SHADOWS FROM THE PAST
I know I am no longer that little boy who threw away his prize, but after those traumatic moments, competitions are not my thing. Part of me still wants to protect that compliant, meek little boy who got hurt some fifty years ago, when he won an award.
Don’t get me wrong. I still want to be good at what I do, but I don’t have the urge to beat everyone and win. Doing my best is more important than being the best.
I have no need to prove myself, or to be in the spotlight. I am happiest when I can help others be successful.
So, if this blog or my daily posts on Instagram have helped you in any way, personally or professionally, you have made my day!
You are the best prize I could ever hope for!