By Mosi D. Smith
Posted on July 13, 2015
Competition. A word, when spoken, that has the potential to bring forth polarizing thoughts. The origins of the word are rooted in Latin and stem from the phrases of “rivalry” and “strive for.” Whether it is the aim to strive on a focused effort, racing swiftly from point A to B, or an intrinsic desire to simply be a better version of one’s self on a given day, there is an element of completion that exists in humanity.
We supplant the word with terms like doing work, the hustle, max effort, the grind, making moves, and so forth. However we dress it up, the essence boils down to momentum—mass and velocity. When we dream of undertakings that seem impossible and decide to overcome mountains, real or imagined, we give life to it. We make plans, prepare ourselves, and gather equipment as needed. In doing so, we give the dream mass. However, without the added component of motivation, our internal compass has no direction of travel. By focusing this accumulated mass, and applying a bit of motivation, we gain velocity to propel us forward.
The 30th Marathon des Sables, a 156-mile footrace through the Saharan Desert region of Morocco, was an opportunity to be exposed to a multitude of intangible lessons learned in between the points of accomplishment: diligence to small tasks, persistence in the face of adversity, and the ability to learn and move beyond failures. In my childhood, competition used to relate to my personal performance with respect to others. It has grown far beyond that view to encompass others, myself, and the gifts of Mother Nature. Regardless of how we perform with respect to ourselves and each other, Mother Nature has always been the biggest facilitator of adversity in our paths. Through the struggle, we realize undiscovered weaknesses and levels of untapped strength in reserves.
Mosi D. Smith is a former Marine Captain who is also known as The Running Smith after finishing races such as the Boston Marathon, Virginia Triple Ironman, Western States 100, Badwater Ultramarathon and the Marathon des Sables. For more Mosi, check out runningsmith.com.