Home Empowerment Sports Is Life: Playing To The Level Of Your Competition

Sports Is Life: Playing To The Level Of Your Competition



I love sports, and I’m as unapologetic a fan as there ever was in life. I love to play, watch, and comment on sports, and I can do so for hours to my heart’s content. My analytical side loves breaking down match-ups, devising strategy, and finding those X-Factors that will be a key to the team’s success. My competitive side loves to test will vs. will. To see whose heart is more dedicated to victory. To know that you are the best and accept the challenge to prove it against another man, woman, or team. As you can tell, any type of board game, card game, or bet to me is similar to a full contact sport. As with any of my other interests, I love to juxtapose them to my real life situations, and sports offers us a compelling parallel to the many facets of our lives. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take certain sports cliches and idioms and display how I apply them to real life scenarios. Walk with me and enjoy.

In sports, the term “playing down to the level of your competition” is a derogatory term. It is used to describe a superior team who doesn’t play their best game when faced with significantly inferior competition. You play as good as the inferior team, not to your own team’s potential, and it can result in your superior squad putting forth a mediocre and unsuccessful performance. Thinking of this phrase made me reflect on my own life and interactions with people and how playing down to the level of competition can severely hinder my success.

When you associate with individuals who aren’t on your level of success, ambition, or moral character, you are playing down to a significantly lower level than you might be aware.

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This does not imply that bonds should be associated by income or status, which is why I included ambition and character. These associations can be friends, family, wives, husbands,or co-workers in all stages of life. These are the same people who will tell you that goals aren’t achievable because they are “difficult” or “unrealistic”. In essence, because they couldn’t see themselves accomplishing a similar feat, they immediately project their feelings of failure onto you. They assume that since you associate with them, you are cut from the same cloth and therefore, you are limited in how far you can succeed as well.

You cherish the good relationships you have, and you will be receptive of any criticism or advice that those in your inner circle provide. However, there comes a time when you have to evaluate your circle to determine whether or not this circle is truly living up to your expectations of success and achievement. Do they practice what they preach? Do they inspire you to be better than your best? Do they check you when you do anything wack? Those are the type of people that are elevating you to be your best. When you delve in mediocrity you produce mediocrity. Personal relationships can cloud your ability to have an objective view, but if you keep it real with yourself, it will become clearer.

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How do you ensure that you don’t play down to the level of competition in life?

You play to your level and up to a higher level, by strengthening your circle. I got a great business tip that you should never be the most successful in your professional circle. You should have mentors and associates who inspire you to reach new successes, and whom you can glean knowledge and best practices from so that you can continue to up your game. When it comes to social circles, make sure you don’t run with lames, shady characters, and aint-about-shit-individuals. Your friends will always be a reflection of you and you want that reflection to look crystal clear and beautiful.

You should strive to be the best you can in every endeavor you choose to undertake. Why be good when you can be great? It’s funny, the new slang for chilling is “regular”. It sounds cool when used, but why would you want to be regular in any facet of life. I would want to be extraordinary, not ordinary. Complex, not simple. Diverse, not similar to anything else. It is your internal drive that will keep you above the competition, ensure that you play to your strengths and achieve more than average. Never settle for mediocrity or believe you are destined to be normal. Your friends, family, and business associates should mirror your passion for success. Otherwise, you will get buried in a sea of sub-par expectations, and playing down to your competition’s level will lead to more defeats than victories.

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Do you ever play down to the level of competition in life? How important is it to strengthen all your social circles? What are your experiences?


  1. Great post Streetz! When I was running in college, I would pick my workout partner based off who I thought was better than me, not who I thought was at my level. Sure I had to do extra workouts because I wasn't winning my time-trials during practice… at first… but I was constantly improving, constantly learning, constantly being challenged. I treat life the same way. I can't "PR" in my career if I'm not surrounding myself with healthy competition/challenge. I want that Lebron/ Durant relationship within my social circle.

  2. Great post Streetz.

    I always try to tell people, if the people in your crew don't inspire you to be better, or if everyone in your crew looks to you for inspiration, you definitely need to expand your circle.

  3. Mannn…you nailed it right on the head. I believe your inner circle shoul be people with just as much, if not, more ambition then you. When your team doesn’t share your vision for success I can be draining to get them to understand. Sometimes it’s just better for you to just compete against yourself then your peers a la Michael Jordan. Didn’t turn out too bad for him…

  4. Watching an experienced and skillful skater video is wonderful and best way to learn skating and some it technique. Tome hawk is one of famous skater and most of time I watch of his amazed skating video what inspired me to be just like him and I try to it too.


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