Are you Afraid of Competition?

Photo cred: Stuart Barr
Photo cred: Stuart Barr

You may not know it, but I am a very competitive person…always have been. Between my parents always pushing me to be better, and playing every sport I could, the competitive spirit became instilled in me.

Competition is a good thing as long as you keep it within reason and you keep it respectful.

Many place a lot of focus on collaboration. Consistently help others and it will pay off in the long run.

This positive mentality is a great one but are we afraid to challenge each other? Afraid to challenge ourselves?

When someone launches a new product, do you just say “wow what a great job!” or do you think about how it could be done better? While the former will make the person feel better, the latter will contribute to the growth of the the idea.

Of course, like everything else, you have to find that middle ground. You don’t want to be overly competitive and you don’t want to put too much focus on collaboration.

You can collaborate, communicate and be respectful while being competitive.

I think we all have the competitive aspect in us. Some just refuse to admit it. When you see someone accomplish goals that are similar to goals you’ve set for yourself, you probably get a little jealous. You probably want to enjoy the same accomplishments. You probably feel competitive.

Embrace your competitive side. Competition provides motivation. It pushes you to become better. It pushes others to become better.

…and if someone gives you a hard time for being respectfully competitive, they don’t want you to succeed.

8 thoughts on “Are you Afraid of Competition?

  1. I do agree that competition brings about motivation, which is always good. Everyone needs a little motivation to do better. BUT it is a really slippery slope. A person needs to learn where to draw the limit most definitely, because you don’t want people to start stepping on each others toes to get ahead. That being said, how does one find a true balance between respectful competition as you call it and getting a cut-throat mentality? Then we get into something deeper… you can potentially become somebody who is on a life long journey of being “better” trying to get ahead to be more successful than others. Then we come to what is true success really? Someone who just makes a ton of money and keeps striving for more or someone who is satisfied with their life, career and accomplishments? Of course, this is not an exhaustive definition of success, to each is own I think. So, I just think that an individual needs to focus on the balance of competition and collaboration just as much as they do on each of them individually.

    1. All true. It’s a tough question to answer. I think it’s possible that any time you compete with someone, they might perceive it as you “stepping on their toes” as you are making them look less valuable, or threatening their business. In truth, it probably just means you’re doing a better job.

      Crossing the line is when you manipulate, deceive or compete disrespectfully in order to get ahead of others.

      1. “Crossing the line is when you manipulate, deceive or compete disrespectfully in order to get ahead of others.”

        I think people who dislike competition are thinking about just this: the extreme, when those competing start to get nasty and begin to behave in a way that will be damaging to their competition’s reputation or efforts.

        The unfortunate thing about human nature is that when we fail, we often look for something or someone to blame. And so, when we see someone else succeed, we feel jealous and even a little resentful; some may even seek to sabotage another person’s success instead of focusing on improving themselves. This is where healthy competition breaks down, and the value of collaboration is unfortunately forgotten.

        Thanks for the link from Matt Cheuvront’s blog. I enjoyed this read!

  2. It’s important to be competitive to make sure that you are being valued as highly as you deserve, however I believe it is important to take a step back and evaluate if you are in fact just being a dick.

    “Nice presentation Rodriguez, but I think I could do this and this better.” – Competetive

    “Nice presentation Rodriguez, were you going for that ironic look?” – Dick

    “Nice presentation Rodriguez, I guess it makes more sense in spanish” – Racist/funny

    In summation – Don’t be a dick, and racism is only ok if it’s funny. I have no point concerning competition.

  3. I think there is a little blurry vision here, where “criticism” slides into “competition”.

    The art of critique, or criticism, is an old art which engenders careful evaluation and review
    Any criticism which does not move slowly, and carefully evaluate before spouting, is just that spouting. = dick. (to follow)

    Criticism which includes evaluation presumes a goal — and that should be for the tweaking of the idea itself. A review points to the errors or internal failurs in the project.

    THAT is needed for an idea to be improved.

    Competition is something else —
    if it is the supplication of the players utilizing criticism as a method to garner gains, then = dick. It may provide a better idea, but is ultimately damaging.

    If the application is the players utilizing criticism as a method to make the idea better because it’s their JOB then it is productive. AND it is competitive, of course.

    Of course, the BOSS may just happen to see this, and the gains flow generously anyways, but it’s the intent that counts. Often the BOSS is smart enough to know the difference, sometimes not.


  4. Competition is always a good thing for me. It makes me work harder, keeps me motivated.

    The only thing I hate is when people think they are in competition with me and we aren’t. That’s when friendships get ugly and the claws come out.

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