The Competitive Edge

It is a proven fact that competition as a value gets inculcated in children at a very early age itself. It begins as a simple comparison by significant adults in the marks in academics, prizes in extra curricular activities and such other things.

In adolescence, comparison in clothes, accessories, branded stuff, whether I have the best mobile model, is common. The race in academics in fact gets heightened here where in each mark starts counting.

This process of comparison leading to competition continues through adult life. Who had a more lavish marriage, who is climbing the corporate ladder faster, who bought his new car, new house first. The list is endless.

Life just ends up being a rat race where everyone is competing to be ahead of the other. No wonder then that stress, anxiety, depression, psychological issues have become common problems.

But, let us just stop and think. Are these the values that we want to live with? Do we just want to pit against each other and be at each others’ throats? Do we not wish that we be in harmony with ourselves and our environment? Do we not want to lead both mentally and physically healthier lives?

The solution is simple if we just think more sensitively and empathetically. Competition is needed so that we feel motivated to work towards a goal, an aim. However can not this competition be with the self?

Competing with the self has far more advantages than competing with others:

  • Optimal usage of potential: My best can be far better than what I may achieve by just trying to be better than you. I may be a person who could achieve 85% if I put my heart into it. To compete with another one, maybe 75% is enough because that individual is in the range of 65-70%. But this would mean that I am not using all my potential which actually then is a loss to the self.
  • Setting realistic and achievable targets: If I try to do better than my own last performance, be it academics, sports, singing etc it helps me set realistic targets. When I am pitted against another individual, I would end up having unrealistic targets which are either too stretched and hence unachievable or too easy where I end up underachieving.
  • Living in harmony: My peace of mind does not get disturbed as I am competing only with one person: Myself. This helps me in not harboring any ill feelings towards any other individual, or be in constant strife and conflict. In fact it helps me be in harmony with my environment and others thus leading to better mental and physical health.
  • Achieving intrinsic motivation: This helps me be intrinsically motivated which is ultimately how it should be. Competing with others gives only extrinsic motivation which is not long lasting. In the end the motivation to do anything well should come from within i.e. intrinsically, for me to put my 100% in it.

So let us all strive to give this true competitive edge to ourselves and make our future lives easier and satisfactory.

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