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Understanding the Right Way to Compete

During the 17th century, there were many  devil’s cohorts. In 1611, the first term explaining how people compete was created. Its origins sprang  from the legendary devil’s school in Toledo. After many months of precise instructions in the ‘black craft,’ all pupils were subjected to one final test – the challenge was a race where the students were expected to have the speed of a puma. The graduating class was required to run through an underground tunnel from one end to the other. Those who were too slow, and therefore left behind, would be caught by the devil – ‘if’ he could catch them. The poor unfortunate who was captured was doomed to become the devil’s servant. Hence, the phrase, ‘the devil take the hindmost,’ was derived.

Why Do People Compete?

People compete for many reasons, including the following:

– achieving long- or short-term goals that they have dreamed about

– gaining popularity and/or fame

– appearing superior to others

– having fun

Defining the Word ‘Compete’

This is an action where one person does their best to outdo another person or another group of people. Whether the goal is minor or major, this contesting spirit is quite prevalent in our world. Overachievers thrive on the spirit of competition. Sometimes, the most innocent of competitions intended only for fun may turn into a desperate rivalry session.

Competing Definition

Taking part in a contest, sports event, academic challenge, work presentation, and any other element which require taking an active part against an opponent is competing. The objective is often some type of gain and is usually the main motivation for competing. Competing can be formal or informal, an object or emotion that people fight for. For instance, competing in a contest to win a monetary prize doesn’t have the same ethical value as two men competing for the attention of a woman; one is a matter of materialistic gain and the other is a matter of the heart.

When the event or challenge in question has been completed, someone wins and the competition is over. Competition is not only limited to people; animals also compete and, although difficult to believe, they feel gratification and pride when they win. Although animals may not have a direct competitive spirit or fully realize what they will gain from a competition, they understand the mood of the people they work with and also perceive commendations and ‘rewards’ the same way people do. The only element animals lack when it comes to competition is the damaging and fanatic way in which humans react to competitiveness.

There have been times when people competed without even realizing that stakes, high or low, were involved. Some people have a mild, psychological bend towards competition and, ironically, come out victorious simply because they were not overdoing it. These mild competitors often infuriate those who harbor pent-up emotions and become over agitated when they don’t  get what they want. It is not healthy to take competition so seriously, but sadly it does happen.

Although competition is a normal part of life, some people take it so seriously to the point that it affects their own self-esteem if they do not win. They take competition to an unhealthy level and may use immoral standards just to be called a winner.

Lying, scheming, and demonizing others are common unethical practices that overly competitive people resort to in their workplaces. Those people  usually have self-esteem problems. They feel inferior to others  and must find ways to prove they are better than them, simply to gain attention or garner popularity. It is completely fine to be competitive; however, it’s only when this competitive trait takes over a person’s life that they should be worried. Such people may talk badly about their co-workers in front of their bosses, so that they do not receive promotions. This sort of behavior creates a negative environment at the office and other co-workers usually understand the nature of this person. Putting co-workers in a bad light or belittling family members not only creates hard feelings but also ostracizes the perpetrator. No one will feel he or she is nice or trustworthy.

How to Compete in a Constructive Way

A lot of people have the correct attitude toward accomplishing goals in their lives; those are the ones born to compete. They are confident, hardworking, and dedicated and have a realistic view of their own abilities. They have a balanced view of failure and they understand that failure is a tool one can use to discover their true talents. Instead of feeling tense all the time because they feel they have to keep up with the competition, these people are comfortable with who they are and they realize that they don’t always have to win to be successful.

In today’s highly competitive world, you may feel lost and that you cannot keep up with the ever-changing demands of society. So it is a good idea to find something you are good at and do your best to be even better. Do not let your self- worth be defined by your place in the competition.

Having a Healthy Competitive Outlook

Being realistic about the difference between healthy and unhealthy competition will protect you from  a ‘compete every day’ mentality. The greatest competition in life is not with others, but conquering the fears, faults, and foibles within your own life.

By setting realistic goals for yourself based on what you want to achieve, you are adopting a positive approach for personal growth. It’s not about what people ‘think’ of you – it’s about how you feel about yourself. This positive attitude enables you to build standards for yourself regardless of your age or position. Staying true to your goals is reflective of being true to yourself.

Whatever you want, no matter how grand or how simple, remember to boost other people along the way. Keep competition on the level it belongs by having a mature and stable vision of your aspirations. Never turn or subvert; never worry about what Jane or John down the road owns. You have everything you need to succeed right within yourself.


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