I took 19 months off racing two years ago when I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; here’s what changed.
After I had been racing for several years I began to develop expectations. Things like, “Oh, I’m for sure going to win this race,” or ” oh, so and so showed up, I guess I’m racing for second.”
I put myself in a box, by the way I saw people. I saw them as obstacles, or irrelevant, and I failed to see them as people.
Because here’s the interesting thing about people, we’re inconsistent. What happens one day, isn’t going to happen again. Every day is a new story.
Because of this, it’s never a good idea to put yourself in a box based on who’s there. It’s also never a good idea to set goals based around other people. For example, rather than having you goal be,
“Beat Nino Schurter” have it be “Win World Championships.”
Even those might be the same thing 90% of the time because Nino is insane, the way we go about them are very different. Because with one we react to another person, with the other we’re the agents. We go through the training and the racing, rather than having the training and racing go through us.
The difference is that when you go through the training and racing, you’re all in. The other way you think you are, but there’s something holding you back the whole time. You are copying, not creating.
With all of this in mind, the way in which I have changed is that I no longer have strong expectations. What’s the alternative? I approach every race with curiosity. I recognize that it’s a new day, full of new experiences. It leads to more enjoyable racing, and better results. I race smarter, and with less reaction.
When you’re so focused on beating a particular individual, it leads to a lot of reacting.
When you’re focused on the curious approach, and racing the best you can, it leads to more acting. And then you’re racing to win, rather than not to lose.
There’s a big difference there.
So race with curiosity, not with expectation.