Gregg Popovich is one of the most successful coaches in professional sports. He commands respect from even the most competitive opposing players, as can be seen in LeBron James's recent claim that Popovich is "the greatest coach of all time."

In a recent interview, Popovich (or Coach Pop, as he's affectionately called) was questioned about his conference rivals, the league-leading Golden State Warriors. Asked about resentment from opposing teams towards the Warriors, who signed superstar Kevin Durant after winning an NBA record 73 games last season, Pop told it like it is (as reported by CBS Sports):

That's your job. What team wouldn't try to put together as good a group as they can? They did a good job, they figured it out, they get credit for it. It's got nothing to do with oh, that's unfair. Life's unfair. Get over it. Go play 'em. If you want to beat 'em, do your best to beat 'em. You do or you don't. No reason to denigrate them in any way, shape or form. They're beautiful.

The point is that you're in a competitive business and you have to be realistic enough to know who your opponent is. You do the best you can to take advantage of whatever weaknesses or strengths they might have. You have to go against their weaknesses, try to figure out what their strengths are, and take 'em away. And that's what this is all about. So the challenge is what makes it exciting. If you're of the mindset...where you say what's the point, then you're in the wrong business.

Amen, Pop.

This isn't just about basketball, or even sports. In business and in life, things will happen that many consider unfair. But complaining about situations in which you have absolutely no control isn't only a waste of time, it's self-defeating.

All true competitors want to face the best. Why? Because excellence begets excellence, if you embrace the challenge. If you work hard and continue to develop a learning mindset, you'll find that competition can be healthy and inspiring.

So forget the excuses and ask yourself:

  • Who (or what) is my competition?
  • What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?
  • How can I use this information to my advantage--and to get motivated?

Instead of resenting your competition, learn to respect them.

Because that will only make you better.