Competition is something that is bred into us from a young age. It is there in our parents when we were small. It is exists between brothers/sisters. It is forced at school and it carries on into our adult working life.
It is often said that competition is a good thing as it makes you work harder.
I’m saying that, in a lot of cases, this isn’t true and I want to explain why..
If you write a book, technically you are in competition with everybody else who has written a book in that genre. But it isn’t about beating every other book. It is about creating something great that is of value to people and having your book stand proudly against all the other great books.
If you write a great song. It isn’t about beating every other song and trying to sell as many records as possible, in as short as time as possible. It is about creating a great emotion for people. It is about staying in somebody’s record collection along side others for years to come, ready to be pulled out whenever they crave that emotion.
Focusing on competing instead of focusing on creating is non-productive. Wanting others to fail is selfish. I’m not being too harsh here, this is a lesson that people should have learned back when they were 8 years old. Don’t believe me? Try going into the street and asking somebody
“Do you think this statement is true or false? – Wanting other people to fail is selfish”
We all know the response and yet people do it everyday. At work, between family, within circles of friends.. We find this wrong type of competition encouraged daily in 9-5 office jobs. Targets, promotions, bonuses.. All designed to keep people fighting against one another with the fake belief that the heavy competition is good as it is pushing them hard. It isn’t good. Most of the time they would happily watch the other person fail if it makes their walk to the top that bit easier.
Inspiration is not competition
If we see somebody who does an amazing job at something, it is nice to be inspired by them and to want to push the standard higher ourselves. This is not the same as competing with them. When you are doing something you are proud of, you don’t want the other person to fail. You want the other person to do well so they can push you to go further and to inspire them back in return. This is the difference.
Competition is the reason people work the majority of their lives and in jobs they hate. They are in competition with their friends, their family members and their collegues. They couldn’t be seen taking a risk and leaving their job – What would people think? They need the money to show people that their car is more efficient and their holiday was more expensive than everybody else in their lives.
Overall I believe that competition is the plague that keeps us from all working together to create the greatest things that are possible. We are led to believe that without competition people would be lazy and nothing would get done. This is ridiculous. People would work together and would only spend time trying to make things the best that they can.
You only have to look at art to see this in practise. The artist that spends their time trying to out do somebody else may get a lucky break now and again but are easily forgotten. Those who spent their lives creating something great and original are spoken about for years after they pass away.
I suggest a challenge
How do you win?
You win by not entering any competition. I suggest the second you next spot that somebody is competing with you, walk away. Or better yet, go to them and tell them you are not in competition with them. You have no interest in being the fastest nor the strongest, you just want to carry on doing what you do and they should do the same.
Allow others to inspire you. Be happy when somebody raises the bar as it will encourage you to do things you didn’t know you could do. Do things you are proud of.
If you find people copying you, don’t worry. They can never beat you at what you do if you are not competing. Your focus is 100% on doing the best job you can. Their focus is only 80% on doing a good job and 20% trying to figure out what you are up to.
They will always fail.
I am not one to tell people how to live their lives, if I was I would be writing self help books. All I can do is tell you any lessons I have learned for myself. For me, stepping away from all competition (whether it be how much money you have, how far you have travelled, how many life experiences you have, how many twitter followers and any other useless measuring unit people like to compete with) makes for a simpler and more rewarding life and I personally highly recommend it!
What is your view on Competition? How do you handle people competing or copying you?