I’ve always heard “competition is healthy” and being competitive in academic, professional, social, and personal aspects of your life can be healthy when it comes to pushing yourself to take on new and challenging tasks and achieving success in doing so. However, it’s probably obvious that sometimes competitive behavior that is not considerate of yourself or others well being can be destructive.
This is the kind of competitive mindset I suffer from. I am so competitive that it has become self-destructive. I’m not the kind of competitive that always has to be the best at sports and hogs the ball or the kind of competitive that has to be perfect in every task I pursue (because I can suck at intramural softball and still have a lot of fun), but I’m the kind of competitive that bases my success on how much better I am than others. In other words, I don’t praise or acknowledge others that have done something beneficial or gracious in the classroom or in clubs or in a social setting because most of the time I feel I could’ve done it just as easily. You put together a contact sheet to make it easier for everyone to communicate? Cool. I could’ve done that. You got recognized for being initiative and taking charge? Cool. I could do that too.
How sad is that? This hasn’t been something I’ve really recognized in myself until recently. During a camp I had this last week, another coworker and friend of mine had mentioned that one of her goals for the year was to be less competitive in her mindset of always having to be better than others. She mentioned similar examples about how she always needs to feel as though she is the best and compares herself to others’ success, which ultimately made her competitive, and I was able to relate on such an extreme level that I was disappointed in myself.
“That is me”, I thought to myself. I struggle to praise my coworkers or acquaintances for something they have done well because I am too prideful and I hate giving others satisfaction. I even do this with my own friends. Instead of congratulating my friends on having a high GPA, I feel resentful for not earning a higher GPA myself. This is so toxic and I’m so grateful I was able to recognize how self-destructive this quality actually is.
One of my newest goals is to compliment and recognize a good act every time I see it, whether it’s at work, in the classroom, or just between my friends. If I see someone tidying up the office space, I’m going to recognize them for it and praise them for being so on top of things. I am learning that I don’t always need to be the best. So far, I have seen such a big improvement in my relationships and this has only been my newest goal for about a week. I feel more approachable and likeable which also has helped my own self-confidence grow.
It is so incredibly important to build up those around you, especially in a world where people are constantly trying to tear each other down. Knowing that people will be better than you sometimes and that it’s perfectly acceptable is such an impeccable quality. Everyone has stronger suits in different areas on such a wide spectrum and I can guarantee you that if you put in effort to accredit others for their well doings and successes, you will find yourself in a better place and feel more successful in yourself.
I’ve attached a link to a video I found funny and could relate back to being competitive in a manner of which one feels as though they must continuously be better than and one up another. Enjoy!