I used to thrive when it came to competition. If there was a challenge where I was competing to be the best at something, I'd jump at the opportunity. It made me excited, and I'd be driven to do the best I possibly could.
But 'the best' became convoluted in my young mind. I was too eager sometimes, acting bossy and pushy. By doing so, I alienated myself from a lot of friends and made some enemies. At the sensitive age of pre-teen and teen, feeling alienated and having people dislike you can have a more severe effect than if a person was more emotionally developed. These days, I think about being competitive and I cringe. I'm pretty sure it has to do with overshooting the mark in the past with my obsessive compulsive 'need to win'.
At some breaking point, my OCD-competitive nature turtled (yes I made that a verb) and I became overly passive, avoiding competition. My ego made sure I stayed that way too, by inducing physical effects. To this day, the majority of times I get into a competitive situation my anxiety skyrockets. My body assures that I can't physically handle the pressure so I won't partake in competition.
First, I need to stop looking at competition as heart-attack inducing. Healthy competition, that's a phrase, right? Currently it feels about as healthy as eating three Big Macs per day. I know everyone feels a degree of anxiety and stress with competition - I acknowledge that part of the reason for competition is that exact triggering effect to drive a person. But in my case it feels excessive.
The next step would be to engage in competition occasionally, in conjunction with developing personal challenges. Both are sources from which I can draw inspiration and propel myself towards creative, problem-solving endeavors.
Time to brainstorm low-stress, competitive ideas (oxy-moron?) to whet my lurking appetite for a healthy challenge.