Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life


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I have witnessed both the positive and negative aspects of competition. Personally I’ve always disliked the notion that “I beat you” or “You beat me”. Either way someone is getting a beating. In terms of game play, where the stakes are low and the main purpose is to have fun, competition can be positive even when losing. In the workplace, when dollars and promotions are on the line, competition can be detrimental to building a highly productive team. In personal relationships competition can end marriages, friendships or cause families to drift apart.

The real winners don’t focus on the competition they focus on their own abilities. If a winner watches a competitor it is to learn new ways to better themselves and not how to be better than others.

When a person or an organization focuses on the competition they are always trying to do the same thing but better. By the time they succeed in that field, their competition has already moved on and is now doing something completely different.

By focusing on the competition, at best you are only trying to be a little better than your best competitor. This creates a false sense of security because the competitive individual is at risk of being overshot by someone else who is driven from within to excel at a particular activity or endeavor. When that happens, the competitive cycle begins again.

Years ago, I decided to take myself out of the competitive career game, I had had enough of it. Instead, I decided, I was going to focus on enjoying my work and try to do the best that I could do regardless of where I stood among my competitors. The results were amazing. I had no idea how much effort and aggravation was wasted on trying to keep up with others. Once I left the game, I had a sharper sense of focus and motivation in achieving what I wanted to achieve.

Now that I stopped competing with my peers and coworkers, I can see how bad competition can get. I’ve heard seemingly close friends speak poorly of each other to build their own image with management. I’ve known grown adults argue at great lengths over who had the authority to order a few reams of paper for the printer. I knew a manager who told the department’s system administrator not to give networks access rights to another manager’s team in an attempt to wield power over the other.

I do believe there can friendly, positive competition, especially when the results are positive for all regardless of who wins. You can lose a game, or fail to be given the lead role on a project and still come out with positive benefits. Winning should be about gaining the most, not suffering the least.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

January 2, 2012 at 8:04 am

6 Responses

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  1. I have always enjoyed triathlons and running more than teams. I like competing with myself. That’s how we get better. Whenever I have been involved in team sports there has always been at least one person that was way more competitive than I would like to be. You can lose a lot of sleep worrying about what your peers make compared to you and you will never find happiness on that path. Work on improving yourself and those around you. The payback may not always be instant, but there will always be a payback.

    Manage Better Now

    January 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

  2. “Winning should be about gaining the most, not suffering the least.”

    How very true are your comments. (I found your blog via gigoid.) As a youngster I was a very good athlete. I won most, if not all of the running events I entered. It mattered little to me; winning was not something I either favoured or sought. I was a ‘natural’ runner and would win against those who ‘fought hard’ to attain their speed. Winning was never an issue for me. I either did or I didn’t.

    As an adult competing in dance I hold the same attitudes. It is lovely to have a win; this speaks of advancement in personal ability; I can gauge how far my ability has progressed by this condition. However, to suggest that this condition may change my attitude toward my fellow competitors is something that, were it to happen, I would have to consider ‘giving up’ the act. This I would most certainly not wish to do; it brings me such joy.

    I do, however, see this attitude in some others. They strive to win. In fact one couple, this past year, did not choose to compete in events where the numbers competing allowed for ‘elevation’. They chose this because they wanted to win the major event (in their level) at year end. Year end came and they came third. I have not seen the couple since however; I know that their hearts would have been broken. I believe that they may be resentful. I’m sure that they would be berating themselves and probably each other.

    This scenario, I believe, highlights your musings. They are true, I believe. Competition is a purely subjective condition. It can either elate us with the ability to make good judgments about ourselves and how we ‘fit’ into the world. Or it can abuse. Each to his own. I choose to go lightly through this world with the emphasis being on my ‘personal’ development gauged by my interactions with others.

    Thank you for allowing me to ‘put on paper’ these thoughts. It’s good to contemplate; is it not?


    January 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

  3. “Winning should be about gaining the most, not suffering the least.”

    Great line. You have inspired a BREVITY:

    Everybody wins
    Competing within.

    John Northcutt Young

    January 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm

  4. […] competition Share this:ShareEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

    On Competition* « BREVITY

    January 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

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