Why Competing With Others Isn't Good For You

Feature Article Why Competing With Others Isn't Good For You

Competition is a concept most people are familiar with. From our childhood years we were taught to form this habit if we wanted to become successful in life. Everywhere the message was the same- beat the other guy and get ahead of him.

We are encouraged to outwit or outmaneuver others. Once we are able to do this those around us shower us with praises and other rewards. Competition is always masked as initiative and used interchangeably by some people. The two concepts mean different things.

If you have a challenge, problem or goal, its resolution demands that you take action- call it personal initiative. Personal initiative enables the individual to reach his or her goals in a positive way. Initiative produces self-reliance whereas when we compete with others we allow them to set our goals, values and rewards. When we compete with others, we reduce ourselves to the level of an imitator. We make ourselves copy-cats.

When we take personal initiative, it means we are in touch with our true selves, our inner selves, our soul, our values and beliefs. Our actions are intuitive-based or we act with spontaneity. We are therefore more original in our thinking and what we do or how we conduct our daily life. When we compete with others, we see them as pacesetters, we see their heads as taller than our own. We imitate them without taking into consideration the differences in circumstances, skills, level of education, resources etc.

It is instructive to know that competition will always place your life in the hands of others while initiative allows you to choose your own destiny. You are not in complete control of your life if you form the habit of competing with others. You make yourself a second class citizen if you are competing with others.

As stated earlier, competition originates from our need to imitate others in our childhood. It is a sign of persisting infantilism if it is carried into adulthood. Competition degrades the mind. It is a killer because it deprives the individual of personal initiative and responsibility.

Initiative is the most highly prized of virtues. It is a vital tool of success. People who lack initiative hardly solve their problems. They get trapped in imitation. This eventually leads to frustration and failure. They get demoralized.

Competition evolves out of fear. When you are in competition with someone who is your pacemaker, you can develop hatred for him. This is because of the perception that your pacemaker is in a position to either block your progress or punish you. And for those below you in rank or position, your fear is that they could displace you or that they could scheme to get you out and occupy your position.

Competition grows out of psychological dependence on another person, the pacemaker. He trains himself to outrun his pacemaker. Meanwhile his activity is in response to what the pacemaker has done or is doing. The competitive individual’s success is then attributed to initiative whereas in reality it is borne out of imitation.

The competitive individual develops his skills to the extent that he is seen by others as an expert. However when he is assigned higher responsibilities or given a higher position where he is expected to breathe new life into the organization through a programme of restructuring requiring imagination, originality, or initiative, he messes up. He is unable to function properly and deliver because there is no one to imitate. He has no freedom of mind to create or improvise new forms that match current trends.

Since the competitive person is always in a competition mode, he loses sight of his own potentialities and capabilities. The competitive individual lacks independent thinking and initiative, he therefore produces poor results. He cannot reach his full potential in life.

There is no need to be trapped in competition. To free yourself from the strangle-hold of competition, work towards increasing your self-reliance. Self-reliance produces results that competition can never accomplish. You should never be under the hypnotic influence of self-elected pacesetters. Don’t live your life merely reacting to others. You were born an original; why die a carbon copy?

Competition is also closely linked to another bad habit, the habit of comparisons. We compare ourselves with other people and see them as either above or below us. We live in constant fear of losing our position to those below us or being punished by those above us for wrong doing. We may consider them as our enemies which can make us put up a bad attitude towards them. The self-reliant person maintains rapport with each group, learning from them to strengthen his position and possibly move up the ladder of success.

A competitive individual is a poor sport. If he is not winning, he will use any means to ruin the game. He will intentionally cause confusion with the aim of bringing the game to an abrupt end. The self-reliant person will remain cool and collected even if he loses the game. The winner is a friend, not his enemy.

In conclusion, competition operates out of constant fear. Fear has a destabilizing effect on us. You cannot function at your best in a climate of fear that competition breeds. It will lead you to a life of mediocrity. The self-reliant person does not depend on others. He thinks independently, he is more creative and original and tends to produce excellent results. The people around him can see originality in his work and praise him accordingly. The competitive person produces poor results because he must have a pacemaker, a hero to imitate. As he rises, he lives in fear of falling from his position. He can therefore use any unconventional or even any devious means to maintain his position. Competition isn’t good for you; work towards increasing your self-reliance which can place you in a position to succeed.

Yours in inspiration,


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