|Me, on a good day.|
Now, this may surprise you, gentle readers, as I seem pretty laid-back, right?** I despise team sports, which are normally a refuge and an outlet for the hypercompetitive. I don’t work on Wall Street or in sales, but nevertheless, my motivate-y quiz’s results don’t lie: my main motivator is not, as previously suspected, forging deep friendships or amassing huge quantities of money, it is Accomplishing Impressive Things and Kicking the Asses of Others. Perhaps it’s tied to my misanthropy. Who knows. I do suspect there is a grain of truth in there, though I am a titch disappointed my results didn’t show that my main motivator is a quest for Truth with a capital T.
In any case, since I’ve been thinking about my List of Doom and motivation in general, I’m now stuck with the task of finding worthy competitive opponents for My Life. Thing is, I can’t compete with just anyone. There needs to be moderate enmity. It’s most effective when tucked behind a façade of friendship. In short, my relationship with my Competitrix needs to be a little… twisted.
|Little-known fact: I am obsessed with LiLo.|
Anyway. I don’t have fights of that caliber with a lot of people – and therefore suffer a dearth of worthy foes. This is probably a good thing, but barring participation in the classic competitive arenas of team sports, sales, high school or foot races, I really have no idea how to compete. There is always the whole “competing with yourself” idea, which seems to have worked out well enough for my burgeoning running habit, but it so far has failed to deliver any brag-worthy achievements – no marathons, no relay races, no real visible notches other than a pretty damn efficient cardiovascular system.
Barring claws-concealed competition with frenemies, one motivator I’ve found no shortage of over the years is The Naysayer: people telling me I can’t or shouldn’t do something. Nothing like proving an a**hole wrong to make you feel alive, am I right? Examples and their results:
Challenge: “You can’t be a vegetarian in Southern Oregon.”
Results: Was veg for 10+ years.
Challenge: “You’re a girl. You can’t run alone on the streets. Especially not when it’s dark out. You will definitely be raped and killed.”
Results: Ran 8 miles a day at O’Dark-Thirty with no incident for years. Then got a gym membership to continue doing same, but near a heater.
Challenge: “You can’t get into an Ivy League school.”
Some recent/pending challenges:
- "You’re not built for upper-body strength, and will never do a pull-up."
- "Ballet is an impractical skill." "You’ll never catch up to people who took lessons in childhood."
- "Your meetup groups are stupid and laughable."
- "You can’t take an aerial class because of your back injury."
What kinds of things have people told you you couldn't do over the years? Did it motivate you to do them anyway? Who do you compete against or with?
*Actually, the results were “you are highly motivated by Influence and Accomplishment.” Translation: I’m bossy and I like to win. Duh.
**More likely: I like to think I'm laid back, but in actuality am not laid back at all. Case in point: I once had some roommates that redecorated the living room without consulting me first. I had to be carefully talked down from throttling them with the full force of my lack of upper-body strength.