Once we are born, the role of competition enters our life. Everything in life is competitive. All living things compete for what they need to survive. This is not always intense, life or death, but just part of growing into our place on the planet.

We seldom frame most discussions as competition but when we encourage our children to eat foods that are good for them, we are looking out for their welfare. As the child grows they will sort out those areas that they want to compete in. My grandson constantly refers to winning the race, even when we are not seeing the walk from the car to the restaurant as a race. Competing in life is not easy nor is our path a straight line, but it has its rewards when we are successful. The skills to compete in life are a part of us and also taught by family, teachers, coaches, and others as we grow. Survival and flourishing have been brought to us by people like Abraham Maslow and many others.

Survival starts with the five basic needs: Air-Water-Food-Shelter-Sleep and as Maslow defined the higher order as: Self actualization-Esteem-Love/Belonging-Safety-Physiological. However we examine these needs, due to scarcity there can be a competition to fill such needs. As we move on to wants or desires, the list can grow and can include gluttony or amassing great wealth and power.

In conversations with clients, I want to always know what they need as compared to what they may want. The separation of these two concepts often leads to how do we get what we need first. If we have everything that we need to survive, will the quest for what we want enrich our lives or “make us happy”? Achieving happiness is in the eyes of the beholder and relative to those who look at our life from the outside.

We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone.

While this quote may be interpreted in several ways, I choose to select that no one experiences our life exactly as we do. Those people we love and value are allowed to share our lives in such a way that they may understand what makes us”tick” or puts a smile on our face. In consideration of of such thought, spending time with people who matter to us enriches our lives greatly. Loving families, great friends, teammates, and professional colleagues who share our quest for goals make life special.

Taking such relationships for granted is a mistake that I do not repeat today. As a young man, I did not consider that my father would die suddenly when I was 19. Upon this loss, I was angry, not at my father but at myself for not ever telling him that I loved him.

Since January 8, 1968 at 2:22 p.m. when my father passed away, I have attempted to not only tell those important to me that I loved them, but by my actions demonstrate that they were loved and appreciated. I have not always been successful in demonstrating this high value, but when I have made mistakes, I admit them, apologize, and work to make amends as well.

Being human is difficult but also rewarding, when we have those special times with those that we love. For all of you who know that I care about you, thank you for making my life worth the effort. For those who are not sure, you may ask me or watch my actions as they normally demonstrate my regard.

I do appreciate it all.