Win-Win

Jack - Clarendon Hills, Illinois
Entered on February 16, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Competition, win or lose, is an educational experience. Regarding his long and troublesome conquest of creating a lightbulb, Thomas Edison once said, “ I have not failed 1000 times, I have successfully discovered 1000 ways not to make a lightbulb. I take this idea into play when I turn everything into a competition. Even when I lose, I do not consider it truly losing; instead I have learned how not to win. Competition rules and dominates my life, from conversing with my mom, to actually physically competing in athletics. In high school, I have witnessed the many trends of people, and the one thing that has always stood out to me is the fact that competition is always a win-win situation. I am one of those people who turns everything into a competition. When I was little, my sister would take advantage of this ardent competitiveness.

My best friend was my neighbor from two doors down. He was my sister’s age but I would not stand to ever let him outdo me in anything. One day in particular we were doing a very peculiar competition. My sister had suggested that we would dive through a plastic hula hoop. She would hold it higher and higher, and my friend would jump. Then I would follow and try to go higher.

So, here I was, literally jumping through hoops on a hot summer day. After hitting the ground hard, I stopped and asked myself, “Why?” I sat and thought, “Maybe I should throw in the towel and call it a day.” But at that moment my neighbor flew through the ring, and I was not about to let him show me up, so I had to get up and do one better. Lean is not a word that would best describe me. Jumping through a hoop is an activity that I would have shown more success with, had dropped a few pounds. I was not about to slim down in the run up to the hoop, so I could only do the best I could. I approached the hoop doing what seemed like thirty miles per hour, then I leapt directly into the hoop. It hit my head first, then got caught in my stomach and I belly flopped to the ground with absolutely no grace.

Looking back at it, it would seem like I would regret that experience. In my mind, however, it was all in the value of competition. If I had never tried to jump through a hula hoop that was that high, I still would not know if I could have done it. I believe in competition. I know that if I fail, lose, or even come in second, the next time I face that challenge, I will master it. I believe that if I look at everything as a competition I will never be disappointed.