How many of us expect to win these challenges? Based on what I’ve read here, that’s hard to tell. But, also based on what I’ve read here, there are many that expect to not win, myself included. That observation struck me as interesting; why enter if you won’t win?
And then there are the prizes. I realized as I was entering my project that I didn’t even know what I was competing for. When the challenge was announced I didn’t pay attention to the prize list. Why bother if I wasn’t going to win? Yet, since I did enter I figured that I should probably see what I was competing for and if it was something that I could even use in my shop (Yeah all tools are good tools, but some I simply don’t use).
It occurred to me that if I wasn’t the only one who didn’t expect to win, then I probably wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what the prizes were. Then I had to ask myself, “Self, why are you competing if winning isn’t in the picture?” After all, the purpose of a competition is to determine a winner. And, if it’s clear that won’t be you, why bother?
And the answer is, “Because.”
Because in my time here there is a certain peer pressure, a certain temptation. Those whose skills exceed mine are constantly pressuring me to be better. Some overtly, but most with expert subtlety. You know the line, they say things like, “Great job,” or “You’re getting better,” or other such encouragements that lead you down the path of improvement. You mention your mistakes and they take it in stride telling you that next time it will be even better, all the while convincing you that you can acquire the skills necessary. There are quite a few “pushers” here who addict you to quality and improvement.
And then come the challenges. You see the challenge and as a result of all the positive talk, you believe you can do it. You believe that you can participate and meet the requirements of the challenge. You know your skills do not match the masters, but you believe you can accomplish the task set before you.
As it turns out, that’s the best part of these challenges; the opportunity to exercise your new found skill and confidence. The objective (for me at least) is not necessarily to win, but to compete honorably. To be able to do what has been asked of you. The prizes are for someone else, but the challenge is for all.
So while I don’t expect to win, I’ve had the opportunity to participate. I’ve entered because I wanted to show me that I had progressed. It’s actually a pretty good feeling.
-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com