We are all told to be competitive because life, after all, is a race. There are various types of competitiveness. The first is probably what most people think of when they hear the word: the desire to compete with others. You can compete with another person in a gym for how fast you can run. You could compete with your friends to see who looks the best. You might compete with your classmates or coworkers to see the smartest.
The second is the tendency to compete with yourself, which is less obvious. You compete against your previous day’s running time. You compete with your last term’s grades. You compete with your previous year’s presentation skills. You are entirely focused on yourself and no one else. This type of competition can be beneficial if it does not lead to perfectionism or stress.
Nowadays, competition can be found in almost every aspect of life, and it’s a lot more than it was before. All kinds of activities that used to be just for fun, relaxation, or part of everyday life have become competitive. Consider the competitions you hear about daily: cooking, baking cakes, pottery, photography, and even make-up!
It is very difficult not to be drawn into a competitive mindset when it’s all around you, but if you don’t take the time to reflect on how it’s affecting you, you could end up feeling quite stressed. So, is it bad or good to be competitive? It is debatable. Competition can be good and bad, so keep an eye on it!
Competitiveness and Winning
When someone is overly competitive, it can be problematic. For someone who is excessively competitive, winning is everything. Because being a winner is a huge part of who they are, such people have a strong desire to win at any cost, and it has the power to define them.
They may cheat to win because they have low self-esteem, a lot of self-doubts, a lot of aggression, anxiety, and possibly other negative feelings, but they need to win. Doesn’t appear to be very healthy. Even if most people are not competitive, competitiveness can cause them stress or interfere with their enjoyment of life.
Competitiveness and Self-Esteem
What about different kinds of competitiveness? Are all of them bad? It’s fine to compete with someone else as long as it doesn’t cause you emotional distress. You can run faster, increase your motivation, study more, and work harder toward your goals by competing with your friends, classmates, or teammates.
Some types of competitiveness are beneficial. Competing with yourself and focusing on your personal development can be helpful if you are kind to yourself and do not judge yourself harshly. While you may still be in “competition” with others, your focus is not on them. Your sole focus is on yourself. Your sense of accomplishment fuels your desire to master the task.
During the competition, you strive to do your best- not to be the best- and improve your knowledge or skills. Higher self-esteem, self-development, self-discovery, and task enjoyment can result from this. Doesn’t it sound fantastic? It’s all about striking the right balance.
Should You Avoid Competition?
We can’t, and shouldn’t, avoid all competition. So, how can we stay healthy and thriving in this increasingly competitive world? What can we do if we find ourselves in an unfavorable competitive situation? What can we do if our competitiveness is causing us to feel insufficient and burnt out?
Finding balance will be the key to staying well and healthy in this competitive world. To compete in some things and have fun with others. Saying ‘no’ to competing in activities about which you don’t want to be overly stressed (painting, writing, baking, and so on). When you’re ready to compete, focus on doing your best rather than being the best.
The most important thing is to have fun. People tend to perform better when they enjoy the activity or competition. This is because when we enjoy something, we pay attention to it. If you don’t enjoy a particular type of competitive activity, it may be time to reconsider whether you want to continue with it.
Pause and Reflect
Pause. Reflect. “Is it that important?” you might wonder. When we are caught up in our unhealthy competitive self, we can ask ourselves this question. Consider your priorities: is it more important to have a large number of “friends” on social media than to have your best friend sitting right next to you? Is it necessary for your cake to be the best? You may begin to notice that some competitions are extremely important, while others aren’t.
Of course, there are important competitions. Even for those competitions, take a moment to pause, reflect, and ensure that your competitiveness isn’t causing you any emotional distress.
Even when competing with others, competing with yourself can be beneficial if it leads to compassionate self-improvement. It’s natural to want to be the best version of yourself, but it shouldn’t be exhausting. Make an effort to concentrate on your personal development. How did you do on your exam this term in comparison to the previous term? Do you think you’re running a little faster this month than you were last month? Have you noticed a difference in your singing since joining a choir? You don’t have to strive to improve constantly, and you don’t have to compare yourself to others.
We’ve discovered that some forms of competitiveness are normal and even beneficial, while others are not. If we choose to compete, we can employ strategies such as focusing on enjoying the competition, pausing and reflecting on its significance, looking to our personal development and seeing the big picture. We can also choose to have fun, relax, and try new things instead of competing.
However, there may be times when these strategies do not work or when you are so tired or depressed that you give up trying to work things out. You may be exhausted or depressed due to your efforts to be the best at everything. Now is the time for you to tell someone you can trust about what’s going on. If competitiveness is causing you mental distress, talk to a psychologist or someone you trust about it, and seek help from trained professionals.
Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with the top psychologists in Lahore through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.
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1. Why is competitiveness important?
It is important to help you perform your best. But too much of it can lead to pessimism and stress.
2. What are the signs of stress?
The signs of stress include fatigue, headaches, jaw clenching, muscle tightness etc.
3. How does stress affect the body?
Headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety are all effects of stress on body.