Are You Competing Against Yourself or the Competition?
Find what works for you, whether it's competing against yourself or the competition, and work hard at it daily. Learn from Clay O'Brien Cooper on how to manage both.

There are generally two perspectives when it comes to competition. When you hear some people talk, they’re talking about competing against the other guy or the competition. Then you hear the other side of it, where people comment that their competition is a competition within themselves; that it’s a challenge of effectively executing what they’re setting out to do that is the challenge to themselves. And they know if they can do that, they’ve done all they can do and have achieved their goal, whether they win or not.

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I don’t necessarily think that either one is right or wrong. I think we’re all different in the way we think about things and how that plays a part in motivating us. Whichever way you look at it, you have to find whatever works for you to bring success.

Don’t forget that you can’t have team roping without a team.

Like I said before, some people really get motivated and excited about competing against another person in anything they do. They thrive on competition, and whether they’re roping or playing cards or a video game, they’re competing against someone else, because that’s what drives them. A lot of highly successful people in many different fields are that way. They love the competition. It’s the driving force.

Help your heeler out. Give them a good handle.

I would look at myself as being a blend of both these strategies. Because when it comes to actually competing, I feel like I can focus and concentrate better personally when I focus on the game within the game. In other words, I’m competing against myself. So initially, I know if I can win that battle, that I’ve given myself a great chance to win. When I’m actually in competition, I’m the guy who’s competing against myself. I try to focus on what I’m setting out to do, and achieving certain goals. The specifics change with strategy and circumstance, like whether you’re trying to be 3 to win a round at the NFR or trying to win the six-steer average at the BFI.

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Have a strategy in your team roping run.

On the other hand, I’m very conscious of the competitor vs. competitor aspect also. It does mean something to me. I like to match my game against their game. That’s what makes it fun. For me, that comes from driving home and analyzing what was done; who came out on top and why. I analyze my winter, my summer, my year, and how I stack up against the competition. Was I able to take it to ’em? Was I the guy to beat that week, that month, that year? That comes from self-analysis and evaluation.

Ride to position and take your shot.

All competitors want to win and have success. And it never stops. Early in my career, I was trying to climb the ladder and get to the top, so it was important to evaluate where I was. Now it’s the same. I’m one of the ones who’ve been around a long time, so I’m evaluating where I am now. Am I still effective? Can I still come with some good game, where they have to contend with me? Based on that evaluation, you can gauge what the promise of your success might be in the future.

It takes motivation, concentration, discipline-several components to be successful.

One of the cool things about life is that there are so many sports that provide a way of making a living at competition. Even in business, business people look at what they do as competition. It takes motivation, concentration, discipline-several components to be successful. For what I do, the competitive part is the fun part. It’s always been fun. I go to the local jackpot, and it’s just a game. I’m going there to win and it’s my living. But it’s a game I play that day. It’s something I work at every day. Then I get to go try it out. The Bible says “run the race to win.” There’s something in each of us that wants to be the best we can be.

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