Winning is overcoming obstacles, but the value in winning is only as great as the value of the goal achieved.
I've finally gotten around to reading The Inner Game of Tennis after having it recommended to me by a number of people whose opinions I respect.
There's a lot I like about the book, and a lot I think I can apply to both my running, my work and my life. The ninth chapter, The Meaning of Competition, was the highlight for me. As someone who—in my teens and early twenties—was convinced that competition was a bad thing, the chapter really resonated with me. I loved that Gallway argues that by focusing on the effort to win rather than on winning, competition becomes cooperation.
More than anything, though, I loved how he illustrates this by using surfing as an example.
The surfer waits for the big wave because he values the challenge it presents. Why? Because it is those very obstacles, the size and churning power of the wave, which draw from the surfer his greatest effort. It is only against the big waves that he is required to use all his skill, all his courage and concentration to overcome; only then can he realize the true limits of his capacities.