According to Dr. Phil, Everybody likes to be a winner, but some people are “competition freaks” who have to be first, be the best or win at everything they do. This overly competitive nature oftentimes causes tension in their personal relationships. “Love and competition are oil and water, they do not mix,” Dr. Phil warns. He offers the following advice for competitive people who want to overcome their need to compete, and learn to relax and enjoy what they have.
Being competitive in our academic, working and personal lives can be good for achieving success and moving into the ranks of glory and glamour. Competitive attitudes can help you to feel energized, able to take on challenging tasks and ready to achieve many things in life. However, competitive behavior that is not considerate of your well-being or well balanced in its application can take its toll, leading to self destruction and perhaps ostracizing the very people you care about the most.
B. EFFECTS OF COMPETING
1. NEGATIVE EFFECT
1.1 SELF- HATRED
Another risk of burying our competitive feelings is that we may turn them around and use them to feel bad about ourselves. A straightforward competitive thought like, “I hate that he is so smart and always says the right thing,” may turn into an attack toward our selves like, “You are so stupid. You never know what to say. He is so much more engaging than you.” When we turn against our competitive feelings, we turn against ourselves. We feel ashamed of who we are and what we want. Instead of seeking to emulate the people we admire, we simply tear ourselves down in relation to them. With so many negative manifestations of suppressing our direct competitive feelings, how can we face them more honestly and make sure to use them in healthy ways?
First of all, we have to remember that feeling competitive is not about letting these emotions take over or ruminating in negative thoughts. It’s about accepting our naturally occurring competitive responses, feeling them fully and moving on. We can accept that we have these feelings a lot of the time. We can even have fun with them, letting ourselves have the nastiest thought possible, then letting that thought go. Doing this as an exercise can feel clean, healthy and even refreshing.
As illustrated by the above examples, when we suppress our competitive feelings, they have a way of seeping into and influencing our behavior. Yet, each time we acknowledge that we have these thoughts, we can consciously choose how we want to act. We can be much more proactive in becoming the best version of ourselves, both accepting ourselves and evolving, as the motivated (and competitive) individuals that we inherently are.
1.2 JEALOUSY/BEING ENVY
Competitive feelings can be full of jealousy. Allowing ourselves to have competitive thoughts will not leave us falling victim to unstoppable fits of envy or suspicion. When we hold back our healthy and natural competitive feelings, we strengthen the negative parts of those feelings –jealousy included. Instead of building a case against someone, we can face the reality of our feelings and adopt a healthier attitude. For example, a guy I know recently revealed to me a thought process he went through at a party with his girlfriend. He noticed that she was happily chatting with other people, including a few men throughout the night. At first he thought, “She is totally flirting with my friend.
Why does she light up around him? Is she more into him than me? I should just dump her before she makes a fool out of me.” At a certain point, he realized that what he was really feeling was competitive. He wanted her to respond to him the way she was responding to other people at the party. His thinking quickly changed to, “I love when she is fun like this. I want to share that with her.” Instead of listening to the voice in his head that told him to pull away and act cold to her, he joined her and engaged in joking around with her. By being lighthearted and fun himself, she was naturally drawn to him, and they were both able to feel closer and happier with each other. If he’d acted on his jealous insecurities, rather than admitting he felt competitive, he would have achieved just the opposite.
One of the worst results of denying our competitive feelings is that it can cause us to reject what we really want in life. Because feelings of desire or jealousy make us uncomfortable, we may pretend that we don’t want whatever we once longed for anymore. If someone we had a crush on goes out with someone else or if a job we interviewed for falls through, we can easily turn against ourselves and become self-denying. Instead of thinking, “I really wanted that, and I’m furious that I didn’t get it,” we might think, “I don’t even care. I never really wanted that. I’m not going to put myself out there to embarrass myself again.” When we engage in this pattern, we become increasingly passive. Rather than going after what we desire, we avoid it, all in the interest of denying our “unacceptable” competitive feelings.
2. POSSITIVE EFFECT
2.1 MAKES YOU PERSEVERE
When you look at someone ahead of you and you do whatever it takes to catch up to them…that is the essence of perseverance. You don’t give up until you are at the top. Without competition, we would have no reason to persevere. We wouldn’t know our limits and how far we can stretch them. The rewards of perseverance are priceless and to experience such rewards, you need a reason, and competition is that reason.
2.2 HELPS ASSESS YOUR STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESSES
Following up from my previous point, what you do notice is what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. With competition, you have a way to measure how well or how poorly you are doing. Knowing what you are good at and what you are not is extremely important, because success is all about accentuating your strengths and hiding your weaknesses. How well you accomplish this determines how far you go.