On competition


We live in a world where competition, being competitive is admired.   I argue that it’s not always healthy.  Life is not just about me, organisations do not operate in isolation from their environment and society.

Competition becomes unhealthy

  • When I benchmark myself against you and take pleasure in your loss, I get better to get better than you, not to stretch myself.
  • When I run faster only to be quicker than you
  • When I pay high premiums to bring sales people in from other companies so I can best the competition, and discount how much that pisses off existing staff
  • When I need to be noticed in order to be OK
  • When I get upset when I can’t beat you at bowling
  • When “winning” makes me feel superior to you
  • When I take pleasure in having more than you
  • When I want more than anyone can possibly need, and then some more on top
  • When I, am stressed, need to win more than I need to be my own best, and when I take a short term view to feed my hunger.
  • When I shout at my child’s football coach, the referee and other parents.

Competition is healthy

  • When I benchmark myself against you and I get better
  • When run faster because you are running faster and I want to get fitter
  • When I work out what other companies are doing that gets them more sales and I work to raise my own sales
  • When it gives me a focus and energy to improve
  • When I beat you at bowling
  • When I win and offer you respect as I pass you
  • When there is room for more than one ego than mine in the space around me
  • When I am not seeking validation for myself through winning – being better than you is not the only way I can feel good
  • When I am prepared to share  my winnings, emotional, intellectual, financial
  • When I don’t get greedy
  • When I am in flow, calm, steady, fast, slow, energised, paced.
  • When I know there is more to this world than me and what I need
  • When I can feel good about myself when no-one is looking or seeing or knowing what I am achieving
  • When I feel pleasure in someone else’s achievement

Competition is overrated.