It is important to recognize the many benefits of participating in a competition, even when you don’t come out on top as the winner. Here are some things to remember when you are participating in contests and competitions:
1. Make this an opportunity to learn about yourself and your abilities. What do you do well? How could you improve? What motivates you to work harder?
2. No matter how hard you try, you can’t be the best at everything all the time. There will always be someone that is better than you at certain things, and you will be better at some things than others. Try experimenting with different activities. You will soon discover your strengths and the challenges that give you the greatest sense of accomplishment.
3. Learn how to set individual goals. The goal doesn’t always have to be a ribbon, trophy or reward. Your goal might be to run the 50-yard dash in 6 seconds. When you reach your goal, you are a winner - no matter who crosses the finish line first. Once you accomplish that goal, set another one and work hard to achieve it.
4. Respect the rules and learn how to play by them. You will earn the respect of your fellow competitors and become a winner with your teammates and friends.
5. Do your best and apply good sportsmanship. In life, it’s just as important to be a part of a team as it is to stand out as an individual. Always do your best, for this helps your entire team improve.
Remember the old saying … "It’s not whether you win or lose – it’s how you play the game." Approach each challenge honorably, play fair, give it your all and you will always have a reason to be proud of your performance.
For more information about leadership development for youth, contact the Logan County Cooperative Extension Service.
Source: Ken Jones, Extension Specialist, Community and Leadership Development