Choose passion over first place


Illustration by Scott Gonzales

Mia Carr, news editor

First place, team captain, the leader. We have trained our minds to think that the only way for us to have value is by being the best at what we do. However, there is more to life than a trophy or title.

I used to think that I only had value when I was the best at something. I would spend hours preparing for quizzes and tests in an attempt to get a perfect score. I put all of my time writing articles searching for praise. Whenever I would attend conferences for Model United Nations, I would prepare myself relentlessly with one goal in mind: victory. 

Eventually, this spark of ambition died down. Hours of studying slowly turned to minutes staring at a blank screen. Research and writing felt mindless. I couldn’t find the energy nor the drive to write a simple article. I was burnt out. I couldn’t understand why I’d lost my spark, how did I lose my motivation? Why did I dread going to activities that I used to love? 

Looking at what I accomplished, all of the victories felt pointless. That’s when I realized, it wasn’t the activities that had worn me out, it was my constant push for victory.

I lost track of why I had joined these activities. I put “first place” over passion and sucked out all of the joy. When we put too much value on the trophy, we lose the value of the game. 

When I did things just because I loved them, life drastically improved. After taking a step back, I began looking forward to my activities. 

Although I wasn’t getting  perfect scores anymore, classes seemed less daunting. I was no longer attending conferences with a pit in my stomach, and the articles I wrote began to come out with ease. 

I wasn’t worried about if I was the best, I just did what I loved.

This  month, I found out that I am going to be one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief of The Oracle for next year and I was absolutely ecstatic. It wasn’t because I got a high position, it was because I really care about what I do in the newspaper and I get to keep doing that to an even greater extent. 

Victory, as great as it feels, is pointless without passion. 

Striving for gold is a hard habit to break, but once it’s broken, life becomes more colorful. Doing things just because you enjoy them is extremely liberating. Ignore the gold standard and focus on what you love.