In light of all the Lance Armstrong talk that is going around, I couldn't help but think about the "win at all costs" philosophy that keeps our society driven to reach the standards of others.
Certainly, we feel pressure to please others or meet expectations and then we feel like failures if we come up short. The pressure that we put on ourselves is often unbearable yet we do it all the time.
Beyond competitive athletes, our society is built on standards. Living a certain way, acting a certain way, looking a certain way. The interesting thing is that we all live in our own community bubble so depending on who we surround ourselves with on a day-to-day basis, that is our standard.
Live in a runner or triathlete bubble? Perhaps you are constantly comparing your body, training schedule, paces or performance to those who are better than you.
Live in a wealthy bubble? Perhaps your lifestyle isn't "good enough" for your neighbors or coworkers.
Live in an extreme bubble? Perhaps you consider compromising your health, well-being or lifestyle to fit within the masses.
No matter what bubble you fit into, if you constantly try to live up to the standards of others, you are going to find yourself defeated. Defeated that you are living the life that you feel others expect you to live, instead of living your own fabulous life.
As a healthy lifestyle professional (if there is such a thing - certainly I didn't go to school for that profession but my background has helped me change the lives of so many), I understand the pressure you may feel to "win at all costs." Not just at your upcoming race but to succeed like those who you admire....likely seen on facebook or a blog (because we all know that our society loves to "show off" on social media).
Winning can be interchanged with succeeding. You don't want to fail at weight loss, performance, education or relationships so you will do anything and everything to "win" at what you want.
Humans are expected to be rational. We grow up learning how to have good judgment and to be sensible. But when we want something, badly, we are not afraid to act beyond common sense and do whatever it takes to succeed. Extreme fad diets, overtraining, neglecting obligations at work or at home, acting arrogant around loved ones. Likely you expected me to say something along the lines of performance enhancing drugs but I feel as if our society does a lot of unhealthy things to the body and mind which may seem "common" but really, are far from "healthy". Yet we try so hard to fit in and that often means compromising our integrity, health and beliefs to be accepted by others.
We have pressure in society to do whatever it takes to succeed because if it doesn't look like we are trying hard, it only looks like we don't want it bad enough. So, if we can at least act the part and be a little hard core, we at least feel challenged by the idea that we are going to succeed because that is what others expect us to do.
Who doesn't love to win? It is fulfilling, satisfying and inspiring. However, if it comes with being inflexible and being an unhealthy competitor in life, it's only a matter of time until you have to pay the price.
To succeed in life, use your common sense. Guess what? There is no perfect way to eat, there is no perfect body image, there is no perfect lifestyle and there is not definition of "athlete".
What there is is a lot of selfishness and greed that comes from a person who is headstrong about reaching their goals and is willing to win at all costs. Sadly, there may be short term gains, but likely there may be more consequential long term losses.
Take a step back and think about your life. More importantly, your lifestyle. Is your training routine moving you closer to your goals? Is your diet allowing you to have a healthy body composition and additionally helping you to live a long, active life in a hopefully disease/illness free body with a healthy relationship with food? Is your lifestyle conducive to enjoying your days on earth or are you finding yourself bored, stressed and frustrated with how you are wasting your days?
The only person you need to please in life is you. Your family and friends will love you so long as you are not being destructive to your body and mind. Your body will likewise love you if you are doing everything in your power to take care of it.
I know you can win in life. Just be sure you know what you really want and that you are willing to work for it until you get it. Your enjoyment of "winning" is felt by you but it can also be shared by others.
Win at all costs so long as you do not end up bankrupt at the end. What's the point of having everything now when you have the rest of your life ahead of you to keep on playing the game?