Thursday, June 10, 2010

Of contests and competitions

I know there are a lot of people who do not want to join contests. Sometimes I would ask a friend if they would be interested in joining some of the contests I have encountered on the internet. Most often, he or she would turn me down because of their personal reasons.

If I ask someone to join a contest, most will decline for the following reasons:

1) Not enough time - True enough, why bother joining a contest if you do not have enough time to prepare for one. Some contests require a lot of preparation in order to produce the best entry possible. And we cannot ignore the fact that we have other things to do as well. We cannot afford to put work, family and friends behind joining a particular contest.

2) No talent - people will often cite lack of talent or knowhow in order to win. If one would look at contest criteria and mechanics, creativity is a major factor for winning. Without that 'x-factor', winning a contest will be difficult if not impossible.

3) embarrasing to join - This is true specially for photo, video contests, singing contests, and others that require performing in front of an audience. Nobody wants to feel inferior if they mess up in front of everyone.

4) contests are rigged - Most often they will say that contests are rigged because they encounter the same winners over and over again. People who see this trend get discouraged because they feel that competing is not for them.

5) no money or resources - Some contests require tools, equipment, and even money in the form of registration fees and traveling allowances.

Frankly, it seems that most people do not realize that contests and competitions do have their own advantages to people who are willing to join.

Here are some advantages I would like to point out.

1) Contests are a vehicle for learning - The more you join contests, the more you learn something new. Usually, when a newbie joins a contest, he or she will have no idea of what it will take to win. But after looking at the contest results and winners, he or she will get an idea of what the judges are looking for. Finding out how to win will open new doors to learning. For example, you might find out that you need to develop your photography skills more after failing to win a photo contest, or you might want to learn how to create digital art so that you can compete in digital art contests.

2) Contests are a way of earning - Some contestants hope to win the prizes offered whether in cash or in kind.

3) Contests teach us the value of hard work - in order to win a contest, the winner oftentimes submits an entry with outstanding characteristics. This shows the contestant's love and dedication towards his work. It also shows that great talent is not just born but made out of hard work as well. Michael Jordan, probably the greatest basketball player of all time is a testament to this.

4) Contests are fun! - Yes, contests are fun and exciting too! Waiting for the results can cause a lot of anxiety, but in the end, if you win, it is worth all the wait.

5) Contests build self-esteem - Joining contests can teach us that if we believe in ourselves, we will be able to win. With contests, we can conquer our doubts, our fears and ourselves. That is why the youth are encouraged to join sports activities. We should be aware that sport is a form of contest where we try to overcome our rivals. Without rivals, we won't get a chance to have faith in ourselves.

6) Contests build character - We know we all have limitations and weaknesses, but if we acknowledge our own we can overcome those weaknesses. Most of the time we join, we experience losing. Nobody wants to lose. But after every loss, if we tell ourselves that we won't quit and can always improve, we will do better next time. And surely one day, we will win.

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