This I Believe

Kathryn - Raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on December 1, 2005
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work
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I believe in competition. I love to compete. I am addicted to Monopoly. The strategy–should I buy Marvin Gardens or hold out for Boardwalk? The random chance–my brother landed on Free Parking again! I find myself totaling up die combinations in my head, deciding how to spend the extra money I might get from Community Chest and making contingency plans in case I land on the monopoly with the hotels. I enjoy the exhilaration of victory, and, most of all, I relish knowing that I won by using all my strategy and expending all my energy. To do less–to leave some tiny bit of skill within me, unused–would be to fail. I enjoy competing against other people, but I have a compulsion to compete against my own potential. I believe that I have the capacity to be among the best, if I try hard enough, and I am willing to try.

I got my first taste of real competition (outside of Monopoly) in fifth grade. We had a grade-wide contest called the “Fabulous Fifty” about the fifty states. I was determined to win this competition. My mom bought me one of those kids’ version U.S. atlases, and I went through it, making flash cards about every state. I studied every night before bed for a month before the final round. In an exciting final match, my team prevailed, and I was hooked. I had studied as hard and thought as fast as I possibly could, and I had done the best. I became thirsty for other opportunities to test my abilities. All of a sudden I became an avid soccer player and a diligent student. I had discovered the excitement, the suspense, and the sense of self-fulfillment that spring from competition. I have competed in virtually everything in my life since.

Some people claim that I’m too competitive. My mother, for example, thinks I’m too cut-throat, just because I won’t bend the rules of speed games for my arthritic grandmother. My more relaxed friends won’t play games with me because they don’t like my intense attitude. My sister complains, “Does everything have to be a competition?” Actually, yes. I believe that life is a competition–not with other people, but with my own potential. I love competitions because I believe in striving to succeed in everything I do, and competing gives me the intensity and drive to pursue excellence.