There are three primary benefits to competing:
- It will improve your ability to persevere in adverse situations.
- It will help you focus your attention on weaknesses.
- It will improve your training by giving you short term goals to focus on.
Not once did I mention anything about medals or fame because such things are fleeting. Instead the focus is on the benefits that contribute to your personal evolution.
Improves Your Ability to Persevere in Adverse Situations
There are so many situations where you will be uncomfortable in jiu-jitsu and want to give up. That’s especially true when you first start learning, but giving up in the gym and giving up in a tournament is different. We all have pride. We want to win, and that desire will push you to persevere, even if it’s just a little, but every time you do, you’ll learn that you can go further.
In a way, you get desensitized to difficulty, and you start to realize that there is often a way forward even when no path seems visible. That is a change in mindset that you gain as you compete more and more.
Over time, you become confident in yourself, and your experience helps you calmly assess situations and move forward with the hand that you’re dealt. It’s possible to gain that same perseverance elsewhere, but competition is one of the safest environments to do so.
Helps Focus Your Attention on Weaknesses
Win or lose, you sometimes run into situations where you could have done things a little differently. In competition, there is an increased likelihood of that happening since you may compete against individuals who have different styles than you are used to in your gym.
It’s a great thing when it happens since it can focus you like a laser on areas that you can improve in. It can also serve as motivation for you to improve since you likely want to do better the next time you compete.
Improves Your Training by Giving You Short Term Goals to Focus On
When you compete, you want to win. If not, you wouldn’t invest the money and time required to do so. Now given that fact, competition can focus your attention on the question of how you can improve in the shortest time frame possible.
Any extra effort you’re putting into your training for a particular competition is speeding up your progress towards being a master of your art even if it’s only by an inch. It all adds up over time, and you become better than you would have been if you had never competed.
Invest in Your Art
This is not a benefit of competition, but it is a reason to compete. Once sometime ago, after a class at Crazy 88, a question was asked about the difference between gambling and investing. The answer stuck with me, and I’ll explain it.
When you gamble, all that matters is winning and losing. There is no benefit that can be attained from loss, and no matter the odds, that principle still holds true.
Investment, on the other hand, is different. When you invest, you can benefit even from losses because luck isn’t the primary determinant of the outcome, and you can apply the lessons learned.
So if you go into competition with the mindset that you are investing in your skills, you will benefit. There is no doubt of that.