From the beginning of our existence, according to evolutionary theory, every species consistently engages in a competitive struggle for life on Earth. Competition is part of our DNA, and it is part of our everyday lives.
Being competitive keeps you motivated and keeps you looking forward. You should be satisfied with what you have achieved so far, but you can always improve on the past! This is not a bad thing at all. You can use failure to motivate you to do better next time. But you can also use the great things you have already accomplished, and believe that you can do whatever you put your mind to with a bit of effort. Remember the feeling of pride and satisfaction you felt when you did well. Seek that feeling again!
When you are driven to do better, you have to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Competition encourages self-reflection and self-development, which are never bad things to be doing. In addition to learning more about yourself, you will develop more awareness of other people’s emotions, and how you can best manage them.
Competition ensures that people grow and improve. As long as we continue being respectful to others, competition should not be seen as a negative thing. It should be encouraged! To be the best version of yourself, competition will be required. It will help you be more successful, and lead a better life.
In an article on leaderonomics.com, Joanne Love said “For many parents of pre-pubescent children, ‘competition’ has become a dirty word. These parents argue that competition causes undue pressure and stress on kids to be their best.” As a result, over the last ten years there has been a “growing increase in the removal of competitive situations, both at schools and in sport”.
Of course, this change does not come out of negativity. It often comes from parents who are hoping to protect their children from experiencing failure or disappointment. Arguably, these children will not be prepared for what’s to come later in life.
Competition is necessary for building relationships, because it teaches us emotional intelligence and social intelligence. In most competitive situations, there will be winners and losers. Competition encourages people to move towards success, adapt and respond positively to a challenge, and failure is a key part of this.
Here are a couple of people who didn’t give up after failure:
Albert Einstein’s parents and teachers thought he might be mentally handicapped because he didn’t speak until he was four years old and he had trouble reading. He was also expelled from school. BUT! He developed the theory of relativity and won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. If he had given up at the start, he never would have achieved this or changed modern physics theory.
After his first performance, Elvis Presley was fired and told to “Go back to drivin’ a truck.” Thankfully, he didn’t! He kept on going and became one of the most famous singers in history.
Like Presley and Einstein, you should not give up after failure. Use it to motivate you! Why not try bringing a bit of competition into your life by:
Joining a team sport outside of work or university. This can be a healthy distraction from your day to day tasks, give you a fun environment to socialise in and keep you feeling healthy.
Cooking or baking on a regular basis. Again, a distraction from your typical day, this activity will make you strive to do better – if you baked a cake for the first time and burnt it, that’s okay! Well done for having a go. Try it again and improve!
At the end of the day, your only competition is yourself. Strive to be the best you can be.