It doesn’t. Yes, there are times when keeping score is appropriate. Yes, there are times when it’s perfectly fine to want to win. It is just neither necessary nor healthy to turn your life into a series of battles.
Anyone who knows me will vouch for my bloodthirsty ways when confronted with a board game or card game – or Jeopardy against my husband. They’ll also vouch for my “leave it on the field and shake hands when it’s over” attitude. I hold no grudge and I am not a sore loser (although, I will admit that I really like to win.)
I like to win in those small, contained, everyone-is-on-the-same-page challenges. Some things, though, should not be about winning. Some things require more than sportsmanship; they require compassion, including showing a little to yourself.
For many years, I limited my life by simply avoiding things I was not pretty sure I’d be able to do well. I was afraid of “losing,” of looking incompetent, of not being among the best. What a waste of energy. What a collection of missed opportunities and unlived experiences.
Competition, even when you set it up against yourself, can be exhilarating and inspiring – when it’s properly in place. When you fall into the habit of making everything about winning, like I did for too long, competition gets in the way of life. There are many more things to be savored for the simple act of doing them than for getting a gold star.
Do something for fun – really, just for fun. Don’t worry about winning. Not everyone is Fred Astaire, but if you’re moved by the music, dance. We can’t all hit a 300-yard tee shot, but it’s okay to play a round, if you allow yourself to enjoy the game.
I’m going to put down my judge’s paddle, turn off the stop watch, and take a little breather from score-keeping. How about you? Wanna play? Everybody wins!