I have an uncontrollably wicked competitive streak.
These Year in Review posts cause this streak to behave poorly. As I read each excerpt, seeing how many Barclay’s Center performances you sold out or how many film festivals you need, I judge whether my blog is better or worse than yours and then decide whether my stats are acceptable.
In my rational mind, I read your blogs because they are interesting and helpful, because I’m invested in your lives, because I want you to succeed.
But there is the other part of me that wants to succeed first.
I’ve touched on this before in Social Anxiety and My First Real Blogging Challenge, where I started to get anxious about writing. That fear was mostly related to your thoughts about me, about my skills and intelligence. This ugly part is my judgmental side. It’s terrible.
By no means is this Mr. Hyde-competitive side only related to blogging, it extends to nearly every activity in which I’ve ever been involved: academics, sports, arts, work, etc.
I constantly create these competitions that ultimately are meaningless, but feel like life-or-death.
“I have to run longer on the treadmill than that person or else I’m a failure.”
“I need to get at least 10 likes on this post or it was stupid to write because I’m stupid.”
“I need to get a 165 on the GRE otherwise I’m stupid.”
“I need to write a screenplay that redefines the genre or it wasn’t worth writing and I’m a failure.”
Because my standards are unreasonably high I fail 99% of the time. The past failures cause paralysis for future endeavors, rendering me bedridden, afraid to start a project because I’m ultimately going to fail. I shouldn’t try because I’m just going to fail.
Beyond recognizing the pattern and admitting that it’s unreasonable, I don’t know how to adjust this competitive streak. Killing it isn’t the goal, as it worked as a positive motivator for many years.
It only got out of hand when I stopped being able to live up to the unreasonable standards; it’s more my failing than the system’s (I know this is irrational but don’t know why.)
So, I’m sorry, WordPress friends for using you as players in this weird game. You are wonderful and great, and I hope this post didn’t mess up your sense of accomplishment. Well done! Great job! Yay 2012!