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Competing with Yourself

Key words and phrases:

be in/get into a groove: to be or start operating or performing successfully

successive: consecutive, in a row

gamification: to turn an activity into a game

Case in point: providing a specific example

revolution: a complete rotation, a 360-degree turn

unfulfilled: not satisfied

Don’t get me wrong: don’t misunderstand

plateau: having little or no change after a period of growth or progress

food for thought: something to think about/consider/ponder

idle: not moving, inactive

Hello friends.

Well, we have made it through the first challenge of the year…January! It is always tough to get back into the groove after a long break. This January was especially tough because it was perhaps the coldest month on record in the Tokyo area. Still, we were blessed with many successive days of blue skies and moderate daytime temperatures.

As it is still early in the year, I thought I would mention a word that was trending in 2022; gamification. This means taking an everyday activity and turning it into something that we can measure and score so that it becomes game-like. Case in point, I enjoy walking so I decided to buy a wearable device last year. It measures steps, heart rate, sleep quality and can even estimate calories consumed. You can set daily targets and the device tracks your activities throughout the day and presents it in an easy to read graphic; a circle. Once the circle closes, meaning a complete 360-degree revolution, you have achieved your goal. Competing with yourself is simple and fun.

Similarly, competition with others is a powerful force that can drive people to be better athletes and build better business models. But competition can also leave people feeling empty, unfulfilled and envious. This is especially true in the world of social media. Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all against social media, but I do have concerns about its effects on the overall happiness of users, especially when people feel like they are losing in a competition of life and lifestyle. Envy is a powerful emotion and we must train ourselves to avoid it.

Back to my wearable device…the thing I most like about it is that it allows me to compete with myself, or “yesterday’s” me. Competing with oneself is the ultimate challenge because humans are driven to be better. Of course that has limits, and eventually we will plateau, but it can push us to achieve things that we may not have thought possible. Best of all, unlike competition with others, competing against oneself leaves a person with a positive feeling because we never envy ourselves. Food for thought!

Well, I just received a reminder that I’ve been idle for too long and need to take some steps. Before I go, let me leave you with a quote from H. Jackson Brown, Jr. that relates today’s theme.

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

Wishing you health and happiness, always.

Mark Tofflemire

Tailor Made Inc. or

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