Competition breeds anxiety, aggression, and a myriad of other emotions. Often competitors will try to intimidate each other in order to get the upper hand. Oftentimes, this presents itself as an insult yelled out, a laugh, sneer, etc.
If you let them, these kinds of aggressions can turn your entire race preparation into 'chopped liver' and affect the outcomes of your own goals.
On the other hand, you can benefit from aggressive competitors and make them work to your advantage. In fact, you will be at such an advantage, that you may have to THANK your insulting competitors after they yell scathing insult at you! They are really doing you a favor!
Their intimidating ways and their insults are beneficial to you in three ways:
1. Benefit #1: People have all sorts of reasons to be angry, frustrated, emotional, or irrational. It is never appropriate to behave unpleasantly towards others, but it happens. Benefit #1 is a REMINDER to you that not everyone out there competing is 'sportsman-like' or 'sportswoman-like', and not everyone behaves appropriately, or pleasantly. In life, in our own little bubble, the perfect world we try to make for ourselves, we tend to forget that there are nasty, rude, angry, and poorly behaved people out there. A good reminder is always helpful...!
Because it keeps us from living too much in our bubble and becoming 'soft'. It keeps us on our toes, reminding us that there are always tough challenges out there. Nothing like a little boost of mental toughness in the form of an attack from an outsider!
2. Benefit #2: That insult got under your skin. Made the veins in your neck pop out, made your face turn red. But rather than muster up the perfect response to the person who yelled stupid things at you, and rather than focus on how to respond or react - you should take this externally created energy and apply it to your riding, swimming, running, or whatever you are doing at the time.
Look at this as a GIFT! You now have a huge burst of strong energy in you- and it can be channeled wherever you'd like it to go. It does not have to remain negative. It can be used for positive means. Might as well speed up your stride, or pack on more power...etc.
Yes, the best benefit is that you can now use the energy that is welling up in you, not to REACT to the attacker, but to ENHANCE your performance now. This is energy that you did not have to conjure up, did not have to eat an extra power bar to obtain, and did not have to take a rest to get. This is bonus energy. Use it wisely! Run/swim/bike faster and pass that intimidating, insulting offender EVEN FASTER! Heheheheheh!
3. Benefit #3: It never hurts to work on your own behavior, comportment, or finesse. Work on your patience every chance you get. Work on your drive, focus, concentration, and distraction-control every moment that you can. If an intimidating, aggressive, or insulting competitor yells at you, here is an OPPORTUNITY to PRACTISE that strong, resistant dignity. It is a chance to work on your focus. It helps you to perfect your own qualities. Use that insult to your advantage.
For example, when I play golf, I welcome every opportunity to play a sand shot. It is a difficult shot to play, and generally, we never get quite enough time to practice it well. So when my ball rolls into a bunker during a game, I do not get upset and anxious. I am grateful and welcome this chance to practice my sand-shots. I look forward to it. I am happy when this seemingly difficult situation occurs.
Therefore, the next time someone yells at you during a race, remember to thank him or her! Go deep into yourself and transfer your anger and shock into new energy to fuel your race. Be grateful that you are one of the people who behave well and that there are tons of people out there who do not, for whatever reason. Finally, remember that you are only able to perfect your toughness and other qualities when you have a challenge and an opportunity to do so.
Looking forward to more challenges and opportunities!