I am a competitive person. There I said it. I’ve always known I am, and everyone that knows me knows that I am, but for some reason I am still not really comfortable with it. Mostly because there are some negative connotations in being competitive. Over the years I have got a lot better at managing the negative aspects but sometimes the ugly side of competitiveness does come to the surface.
First let’s start with the good.
What is Good About Being Competitive?
1. Being competitive pushes you
Being competitive makes you push yourself. It is hard to explain to people where the drive comes from but it is just there. For me that desire to push yourself and do more has just always been there and never ever goes away. Being competitive means you are always striving to do better. Being competitive is it's own motivation.
People will often ask me what are you training for? And my answer is "nothing in particular". Sure I train for the Open but really I am just training to get better - to be the best I can at everything and see where I get.
2. Competitive people achieve
This goes hand in hand with pushing yourself but being competitive makes you get up, makes you set goals and makes you do things. Action brings momentum and with momentum comes achievement. That sense of achievement is intoxicating, it makes you feel good about yourself, it creates self esteem and pride and makes you want to achieve even more.
3. You care about what you are doing
When you are competitive everything has a purpose. You don't just do things randomly. Being competitive gives focus, clarity and purpose to what you do. You care about what you are doing and you know why you are doing it - all things that help give you a feeling of purpose and satisfaction in life.
4. Competitive people aren't lazy
Sure there may be some anomalies to this but in my experience most competitive people are hard workers. They just get that to be great at something you have to do the work.
So while there are lots of great things that come from being competitive there are also some negatives!
The Bad Bits About Being Competitive
1. You are hard on yourself
No one sets the bar as high as a competitive person does for themselves! You are own worst critic and even a winning performance may be plagued by critiques and lists of things you should have done better.
2. You are never truly satisfied
Being competitive means you rarely spend time enjoying your successes for as soon as you have achieved something you are already setting the next goal! This can be a positive in that you will always strive for more but spending time recognizing your efforts and achievements is just as important.
3. Focus can quickly turn into obsession
Focus is good but obsession is not. Sometimes it can be so easy to be so consumed by your goals or passions that you neglect the other things in your life. Competitiveness if left uncontrolled can be destructive to yourself and your relationships with others.
4. You find it hard to relax
Competitive people are doers, like they moving, they like action but this can mean you find it hard to relax and truly do nothing.There is always a goal to work towards, there is always something to do, something to think about. Finding time to not do and not think is important to you and the people around you. Burnout is real and finding that "balance" is important.
Being competitive is who I am. I have benefited from the positives and have had to manage the negatives. It has been challenging at times but in the end I truly believe my life is better because I am a competitive person. It is still a work in progress and certain times of year are more challenging than others (Hello CF Open) but for now I am happy to keep pushing myself and to keep asking myself is that the best you can do?