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Life isn't a game, it's a contest

Written by: | Published: April 13, 2010 | Updated: July 10, 2023

A lot of different emotions have been running through my mind lately as I’ve approached the first year I don’t get to share my birthday with my grandfather. The phone call I have had since I was old enough to talk, to ask what we’ll do or where we’ll have dinner, hasn’t taken place.

I won’t get to call him tomorrow to wish him a happy day. Life happens, and life moves on, that’s the lamest thing i can thing of but it beats being sad with nothing to contradict the sadness.

I haven’t quite adapted to the change, but I imagine it gets easier every year. I cry at the drop of a hat like I’m pregnant again, arg! Even more entertainingly, I even cried at the reminder I forgot to cancel from last night. “Damn” was my first thought – ha!

Now as I finish writing a blog post for the second in a series of fun craft projects with Eileen Hull’s new Sizzix scoreboard dies (the Sizzix tea cup is next in line), I have been reading a number of people voice their opinion about crafting and contests.

Many have said that turning the projects into a voting opportunity takes the fun out of the creation. I began to feel bad as I read these remarks. I’ve taken the voting/contest approach to heart. It’s taken me years to learn to deal with my fear of self promotion and I’m still trying to embrace it.

Yet, I love the idea of encouraging people to get involved and share their opinions. However, as I think about it… voting can turn into hurt feelings or offended participants.

Should competition really be hurtful?

It can offend or hurt, yes. But really, if we are proud of what we do and proud of our effort why do we allow ourselves to feel hurt when other’s don’t proclaim the same feelings about our work? Why do we create anything if we are concerned with what others think about it? As artists or creators of anything, do we really need praise and approval to continue with our creation?

Yes – as human beings we need acceptance, some more than others. Life is a contest. Besides the obvious commercials of beautiful women and sexy men selling cars and perfume and clothing… look at our politics, our education, our job market. It’s all competition, us against them, always.

Even something as simple as what to make for dinner and will our picky 5 year old eat that casserole tonight… competition.Heck, my grandfather held some amazing positions during his life – he earned them with hard work, dedication, great ethics, and a personality that others loved to be around. That’s a winning combination for competition.

Life doesn’t have to be a hurtful competition…

Some of the best creators have been completely anti-social.. unable to stand up in front of a crowd let alone ask others for their approval. Only to be discovered and proclaimed fantastically great after they are dead.

Do you think Leonardo da Vinci cared what others thought as he broke the law, stealing cadavers to sketch and learn more about the human body? I think not. Maybe he did, but I doubt it. He wanted to be great for his own happiness… not because of the happiness of others.

I don’t know that I really have a final point here. I just had to share because it just occurred to me that there will always be those that don’t like competition… but competition happens without us whether we want to participate or not. We just have to be the best we can and love ourselves regardless, and if we want approval, we have to ask for it not just earn it.

Although true success within doesn’t rely on winning, much of success in the public eye does require the public to not only know we exist, but like what we create or at a minimum, just like us.

It’s all a competition, so don’t let the competition irritate, scare, intimidate nor hinder your interest in getting involved… do whatever it is for you because when you’re gone, you’re remembered for what you’ve left behind – make your legacy your best greatness.

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Jen is Passionate about Creativity. She is the owner and "doodle in charge" of JGoode Designs, a Denver based design studio. She is an illustrator, mixed media artist and creative lifestyle blogger. Jen has been a creative professional since 1998 but says she's been an artist since she was old enough to eat glue.

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2 thoughts on “Life isn't a game, it's a contest”

  1. I agree – competition for me is a way to motivate myself. I’m the first to flake out on myself if I don’t have a reason to push forward.

  2. Well said Jen; your grandfather is in your heart…he is one of the reasons you are the lovely person we all like. I have to confess, I enjoy competition, only because it is fun, not as a way to define oneself.


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