The Art of Defeat

For many people, the word ‘competition’ doesn’t exactly spark feelings of excitement.

It brings me back to the days of physical education in school, where insecurity and uncertainty ran rampant. I remember one particular incident when my gym teacher picked me out to demonstrate ‘the cartwheel’.

(side-note - was anyone else's gym teachers always out of shape? I’ve never met a fit one…)

To paint you a picture, I had a physique like a fresh loaf of bread. Soft, squidgy, and completely incapable of a solid cartwheel. A chronicler of geeky video game knowledge and Coca-Cola enthusiast - yes. A gymnast in the making? Sadly, no.

After predictably failing miserably and watching my peers nail it first-time, the idea of competition became something to dread - it felt aggressive and inspired anxiety and fear, not fun.

Why competition is good for you

It wasn’t until I got a lot older than my view on competition changed.

I started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a combat sport. It’s just you against one other person - it couldn’t be more competitive! There’s no excuses. You can’t blame the goalkeeper for slacking off. It’s all on you.

Unsurprisingly, the first six months were brutal.

I was supremely awkward, clumsy, and couldn’t put a submission on someone without saying ‘sorry mate’. I had the flexibility of a pensioner. Weighing over 100kg and getting tapped out by people half of my weight felt embarrassing.

But I persevered, and I got microscopically better each week. And something funny happened.

I started to enjoy the competition.

I started to crave hard sparring sessions, and getting wrecked for 10 minute rounds felt just as good as when I was winning. I still get tapped out by people half my size. And I don’t care.

Because competition isn’t about winning - it’s about showing up.

When you turn up to training and put your best in, the end result isn’t important.

Did you show up and try your best?

That’s more than 90% of the population can say. Think about how many excuses you hear from friends and loved ones, who are scared to get competitive with themselves.

‘I’m too tired from work.’

‘I’ll go on Monday.’

Competition is for you and no one else. It’s always you against you.

And if you're really lucky, you might lose.

The Art of Defeat

I can't stress this enough - losing is where the magic happens.

When you lose (and you will), you unconsciously pick one of these three reactions:

  1. You get upset, and you feel like a failure. You’re not good enough. You should probably consider a different hobby - this isn’t for you.
  2. ‘The judges didn’t really like me anyway, I’m sure they were looking at me funny. The result was BS, I should’ve won.’
  3. You laugh it off, shake your opponent's hand and congratulate them. The better person got the win that day. You take some well-deserved rest and work on why you lost, and how you can improve.

What one do you resort to? This isn’t just about sports competition - did you mess up at work and feel terrible about it? Or do you make excuses?

And here lies the main value of competition - it trains you to handle defeat in every aspect of your life. You either win or you learn.

Get involved!

Chances are you’ve been stuck inside for the vast majority of the year so far.

That’s why we’ve created a little competition that everyone can take part in, all in the comfort of your own home.

It’s called the Vivo Games and will take place from the 24th-27th of July.

We have two levels - the challengers, and the pros. The challenger's section is for everyone and will include scaled workouts that everyone can take part in, no matter their current fitness level. The ‘pro’ section is for more advanced participants, such as athletes.

While competing isn’t about winning… we do have some awesome prizes on offer. There will be £200 of Vivo Life products up for grabs to the winner of each category.

Get involved here and challenge yourself - and remember, it’s you vs you.

'Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.'

- Bruce Lee

Until next time,