A Healthy Amount Of Competition Will Do You Good

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The other day I found out that three people in a new circle of friends I joined each have a twin!  What are the odds of that?!  That got me to start counting how many twins I actually know.  One pair of twins from my elementary school days, five pairs from middle and high school, two in college, and now eight sets of twins in my adult life for a grand total of sixteen sets of twins!

What impresses me about all of these twins is how well rounded and successful they all are in their careers and personal lives.  Is it a “twin thing” I wondered or just coincidence?  My instinct tells me that a healthy amount of competition and the constant support twins have with their paired siblings are a big influence on their ability to achieve and succeed.  These are beneficial traits we can all establish across all sorts of relationships and partnerships: siblings, friends, colleagues, etc.

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

I’m sure most of you have heard that somewhat annoying song from Annie Get Your Gun, “Anything you can do (I can do better).”  I got the song stuck in my head thinking about the balance of competition in relationships and how it affects us in our day-to-day lives and in the long term.

I think it’s beneficial to have a healthy amount of competition to thrive in business, life, and to be continually motivated.  If we have no one better than us to look up to, or nobody that we actively want to beat, it’s way too easy to get lazy and stagnant.  Successful entrepreneurs always know exactly who their competitors are and also continually look for ways to stay one step ahead.

A Healthy Amount Of Competition Can Be A Total Blast

I’m a bit of a clutz, but I really enjoy taking Bollywood dance classes as part of my exercise routine.  I started going with a few friends lately because it motivates me to keep going, and we also have our own competition among ourselves to see who can remember the most of each combination in class.  We crack up laughing when one of us goofs up and we’re constantly pushing ourselves to outdo each other.  As a result of bringing them along, I’ve gotten a lot better in the class and I’m having a lot more fun!

When it comes to business, you’re probably not going to be friends with your competitors but you can still have a lot of fun in the process trying to surpass them in sales, outreach, and quality.  If you find yourself getting overly stressed about how much better they’re doing, take a step back and put together a game plan with small tasks you can easily achieve so you can feel the rewards of making progress.  I get so happy when I accomplish things, since any step forward is significant no matter how tiny it is.  Figure out what your company’s weaknesses are and work on improving efficiency.

Get In The Game And Get Ahead

In my recruiting experience, I’ve found that candidates who played high school sports or participated in collegiate athletics tend to make fabulous hires.  Why?  Because they know how to work in teams and love to win.  They are fueled to train and push themselves to get better because of the rivalries they have with other teams, the pride they have in their schools, and their love of sports.  Competition fires players up, gets them pumped for each game, and makes winning all the more sweet.

Untemplaters, what do you define as a healthy amount of competition?  How would you rate your level of competitiveness?  How has that impacted your motivation and success?

“Personal

Unconventional Guides

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Modest Money April 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I definitely thrive off of competition. It must be the athlete in me. I do website marketing for a living and it is constantly about catching up and staying ahead of competitors. You always want to beat them in any way possible. I can’t say it’s friendly competition. I have found friendly competition to be quite helpful in building up my blog though. I regularly chat with a bunch of bloggers who started around the same time and we like to push each other to improve all of our stats and keep with one another. I guess they’re my blogging twins :)

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Sydney April 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Yeah that is quite a competitive space. It’s hard to find an industry that doesn’t have a lot of competition these days so we all have to be proactive and on our toes. There is a limit though because when people and companies get too competitive it usually ends badly when they start sacrificing things like quality and customer service in order to save on costs.

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krantcents April 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

Games and sports either made me competitive or I was competitive and looked for outlets for my competitive ways. I think it was the latter. I love playing games especially strategy like games. Some people are a little too competitve and cause problems in organizations. Keeping it in check and learning to work in teams is a better outlet.

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Sydney April 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Strategy games are a lot of fun. I also like silly, easy games like Draw Something and Words With Friends. Yeah when people get overly competitive within the same company it usually backfires and things can get really tense. Fortunately I don’t have to deal with anyone like that at my day job.

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Financial Samurai April 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Competition is exhilarating and so motivating! It’s part of what makes America and other free countries great.

The correlation to effort is more profound, which makes us/me want to work even harder. Whenever I miss a shot on the tennis court, I am telling myself, “Focus!” “Try harder!” It’s the same way at work, or online.

Instead of trying to make six figures at your day job, why not try and compete and see if you can make six figures via passive income? Challenges like that are just so fun, and keeps me going.

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Sydney April 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm

That’s awesome you get a lot of motivation from various forms of competition. I remember how driven my soccer team and I got when we played our rival school when I was in middle school. I’m sure the competition in tennis must be even greater since it’s so fast paced and so much pressure is on each player for each return.

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From Shopping to Saving April 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I love a good competition! It just means that you are pushing yourself to do even better and to reach farther for your goals whatever they may be. When I apply competing with others in terms of saving money, dieting, or exercising, it makes it easier to stay on track because you are held accountable by others. Also I think a lot of people just hate to lose! I surely love to win, so competing against others is always good. Just don’t get too into it where you get all stressed and angry…that’s not fun.

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Sydney April 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I like your attitude and competing with others on saving, dieting, and exercising are really beneficial to your own happiness and well being. I think you’re right that losing irks a lot of people. I don’t get angry when I lose anymore, I try to take my disappointment and channel it into energy to work on improving my skils.

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Andrew Olson April 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Interesting idea! I’m sure having such a direct competitor can be a great way to fast-track your own growth. And you’re absolutely right, Sydney – competition can push you beyond your own limits and even make the process of growth more enjoyable.

For me, sans-twin, it has been hugely beneficial to compete against myself. Not in a bi-polar kind of way, but by identifying what I am capable of doing/being and making an effort to live up to that standard.

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Sydney April 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Setting high standards for yourself is a good way to keep yourself moving forward when you don’t have a direct competitor or just want to push your limits. It helps to set goals on a regular basis too.

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TB at BlueCollarWorkman April 26, 2012 at 5:59 am

I had a younger sister growing up and so she was never much competition, but I did have friends, and we woudl always try to go off a bigger jump than eachother or whatever. And now that you point it out, I DO think that that helps get us invovled and not stagnant. And now in the “real world” I find I compete with myself to do a better job all the time, and iwth other contractors to keep getting business. Competition makes the world go round!

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Sydney April 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Competition definitely helps keep us active and on our toes. It made a difference when I was in school competing with myself and friends to get good grades and then later in my career pushing to get good reviews and promotions. It can really do us some good!

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Jeff @ Digital Nomad Journey April 26, 2012 at 8:26 am

Healthy competition is vital. Competition drives innovation.
Competition ignites a fire in your belly. Once we become complacent, I feel life becomes a drag.

What I don’t like is the “cut throat” competition of the corporate business world, where hundreds or thousands of people’s lives suffer due to 100% profit driven decisions.

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Sydney April 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Life DOES get boring when things just stay the same and we get stuck in a rut. I agree that there is an important balance that needs to be in place in the corporate world when it comes to competition. When companies only focus on profits it usually just creates a lot of exhausted, bitter, and unhappy employees and then even worse results.

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Tyler S. May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Ha this is definitely me.. I’m a super competitive person, so much that I’ve had to scale it back at times, but it’s helpful on the soccer field! :) There will always be ways to improve, and once you stop trying to be the best you can be.. what’s the point?

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