I don’t care so much about winning or losing, but I do compare my performance to others. Did I appear foolish, ignorant, or out-of-shape?
Runners seem to embrace a healthy mindset. Each race is an opportunity to improve their time from the last one. Each practice run is an opportunity to push a little farther than the day before. Runners don’t receive scores for form or technique. They simply run with the goal of achieving a new personal best.
My father loved the game of golf. He told me it was a game against yourself, not anyone else. Every time he hit the ball, whether at the driving range or on the course, he tried to improve upon his last shot. While the scorecard kept a tally of the foursome, my father focused only his own. He would describe his day on the course in terms of how many pars, birdies, and bogeys he shot. The overall score was almost inconsequential.
I wonder if I would enjoy golf in my retirement years. It honors my love of walking outdoors. The leisurely pace does not intimate me. Form and technique are potential issues, but I could practice in relative privacy on the driving range. Could I learn to let go of what others might think and just enjoy the sport? I’m not sure. But it might be worth a try.
Writing is teaching me this valuable lesson. While it is easy to fall into the comparison trap (I don’t have an agent, I’m not traditionally published, I have few 5-star reviews…) for the most part, I write for myself. I write about topics that interest me or that I want to learn more. I use the feedback from others to help me hone my craft. I share my writing with the world not so much for praise or reward, but because I hope to connect with others.
Writing is my race. Writing teaches me endurance, perseverance, and discipline. My eyes must remain on the prize. Not to see my name on the Bestseller list, but to craft words into stories that inform, entertain, and hopefully help others realize they are not alone in the world.