I’m a competitive kid, could you guess? Every sport, no matter whether I’ve played it before, I want to do my best. I’d try to play tennis with my husband (6’7″ crazy athlete man, by the way) and would get thoroughly upset if I didn’t play well. You’re allowed to yell profanities in tennis, right? Heck, I even take beer pong seriously!
Perhaps it’s the Olympic drive in me combined with one of my top core values being Work Ethic. I strive for that satisfaction when knowing that I put everything I could into something. Having played professional water polo where you are always vying for a spot on the team, you can’t help but feel you are never quite good enough. Even when you’re at the top!
So where do we find the balance in ourselves when it comes to one’s competitive drive and the ability to be content with where we are at? If we cannot be happy and content with where we are at presently, there is absolutely no room for us to improve, let alone be at our best. For we are only at our best when we are completely present in the moment. And if you’re not happy with where you’re at right now, that means you’re thinking about the past or the future! Tricky, right?
To be completely frank, I only recently found this ‘balance’. It was on my yoga mat. Humbling, eye-opening, and genuinely content. This is what I found when I delved a little deeper into my yoga practice and the values that yoga hopes to inspire within us.
One value that I love just as much as work ethic is Santosha, also known as contentment. The ability to be content with yourself this very moment and to actually BE in the moment. Don’t stress over the future, don’t fret over the past, find confidence within yourself and know that by you being your happiest self right now will naturally lead you in the right direction.
Here is quote that has stuck with me that I still read to myself before I hop on the mat, play a game of tennis, or bring out the beer pong table….
“When you come to a pose that is difficult, it is tempting to give up and stop trying, or to compare yourself to the person next to you, or to convince yourself that you will be happy when you perfect the pose. But by staying present in the post, and choosing contentment with where the body is, we make space for growth. When we stay stuck in judgement and anxiety about our physical limitations, we not only cheat ourselves out of contentment in the moment, we deny ourselves the space to move forward with the practice.” -Darren Main