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.








One thought on “On competition

  1. Nice.

    The shouting at football one is interesting; I run the line for my son’s team every Sunday. I’ve done it for years and enjoy it, especially talking through with the kids the reasons for my decisions. They ‘get’ it. They understand that it’s not about competition at that moment, it’s about cooperation. Their parents and coaches however, don’t. I’ve received dogs’ abuse from some parents this year, even to the point that I’ve submitted reports to the leagues and clubs.

    I understand their motives; they want their child to win. What they fail to understand is that the more effective win is their child understanding how to play offside correctly.

    Can you be competitive if you don’t know what you’re trying to win?

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