“That’s three games in a row for me, Thomas.”
“Wow, you take your chess pretty seriously.”
“Less talking, more playing!”
To be clear, I’m not a great chess player, but occasionally “beginner’s luck” is my friend. Over our next 10 games of chess I play with my Dutch buddy Thomas, however, I win exactly zero. Thomas is clearly the superior player. But when you’re in as relaxed a place as Pangandaran, Indonesia, winning or losing doesn’t really matter — at least not to me. I suspect Thomas might feel otherwise.
Situated about midway on Indonesia’s largest island, Java, Pangandaran is a small, south-coast fishing town converted into a family playground. It’s a place to relax, to hike in the small nature reserve full of deer and monkeys, and to enjoy delicious, fresh-caught seafood. Which brings me to my first dinner in town.
“What do you recommend?” I ask the proprietor of an appealing-looking fish restaurant.
“There’s a bucket in the back. Pick whatever you like.”
The fish all looks fine. The squid seems all right. But wait, is that a SHARK in the bucket? I’ve never tried shark before. An hour later or so later, the waiter brings out my shark, perfectly cooked in sweet and sour sauce, with no bones in sight. I consume half of it in nothing flat, knowing I shouldn’t eat the whole thing, I shouldn’t eat a whole shark in Pangandaran, Indonesia. And then, of course, being 26 years old with a hollow leg and a fast metabolism, I eat the whole darn shark! Delicious!
It’s a good thing Thomas wasn’t with me or I’m sure shark eating would’ve become a competition.
(What’s your relationship with competition? Does it allign with basic human values like kindness and empathy? What if you committed to banishing all competition and competitive thoughts for one day, and then see if you can keep it going for a week? What positive improvements might it bring to your life?)