Since we were children we are taught to compete. Day after day the habit of competing with others is shaped. When we less expect it that habit is created, and our whole life becomes a competition, a competition where we need to beat others in order to be successful. But is life really a competition? Do we need to compete in order to be successful? It is the act of competing with others what give us true victory? Can the result of a competition really define a human being? Let’s find out together more about competition, its definition, level of importance and impact on human beings.
According to the dictionary, a competition is “a situation in which someone is trying to win something or be more successful than someone else” In other words, we can define competition as being an opportunity to get a special prize that might have a special significance, or the opportunity to defeat others to declare oneself as being more successful or superior than someone else. Therefore, does this mean that we must focus on defeating others to be successful? It is by doing so, that one truly achieves victory? It is true that through competing with others one evolves, becomes superior, and achieves greatness?
Well, that will depend on the way we see it, that is to say, our own perspective, belief and idea of what a competition truly means. Two different beliefs are going to determine the true meaning of competition and the answers to those questions: 1. The belief that life is a competition, where you have to defeat others in every possible aspect of your life. 2. The belief that life is not a competition at all, and if there is one competition that is with the person you were yesterday.
“The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself.” – Washington Allston
The first belief will define competition as the possibility to beat others to be successful, believing that through defeating others one gets true victory, what makes them more superior, what makes them evolve, and so achieve greatness. The second belief will define competition as being merely the chance to be better than you were yesterday, believing that one is successful, evolves and achieves greatness by becoming the best version of oneself.
The people who have the first belief will focus on winning others. That will be their maximum goal, beating others will become their main desire, and the defeat of others will be their victory. Those who have the second belief will focus on being better than they were yesterday, and becoming the best version of themselves will be their ultimate goal, and victory for them will mean being the person they were meant to be without needing to defeat others for being so.
“You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.” – Arthur Ashe
As we can see competition is a word that can have many different meanings. The true is that nowadays people have accepted the first belief, because that is what this society taught us. It taught us that we need to compete, and in every competition, we have to win others in order to be successful. And this is not about sports, this is not a simple game, this is about life. Somehow, they transformed life into a competition. We compete not to become the best version of ourselves, but to simply defeat others, what gave us a wrong idea of life.
Every aspect of our life has become a competition. In every place there is an ongoing competition: In workplaces, schools, universities, homes, neighborhoods, bars, parks, and every corner of this world. We compete to see who has the best car, smartphone, house, clothes, shoes, we compete to see who has the best body, who looks better, who is more beautiful, we compete to see who has the best job, the best position, the best salary, we compete to see who has the best grades, or the most important degree, or anything that will put us in a “high status position”, we compete to see who has the best birthday, wedding, funeral, it doesn’t matter, the fact is that we have to be better than others, that gives a fake sensation of happiness and success, that seems to fill our empty souls.
“Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
But, do we ever feel complete? No, not really, and that is why we never stop competing. We desperate need to be better than others to feel successful. What we don’t know is that the only person we need to be better than is the person we were yesterday. Being the person we were meant to be, doing the things we love without needing others approval, without needing to beat others, gives us freedom, and that makes us truly successful, that is how you really win this competition called “Life”, which in fact is not a competition at all, or not against others, but a competition against the person we were yesterday. Winning this game, means defeating the person that we are not, becoming the person that we really are, and that means becoming the best version of ourselves.
If you want to improve yourself, to develop your true potential, if you want to succeed at life, you will have to fight to become the person you are capable of becoming, if you believe in yourself and you think you are good enough to be the person you have imagined, then there is no need to compete with others, because you will realize that you don’t have competition, and if you don’t have competition, against whom are you going to compete with?
Life is not a competition, and if there is one competition, that is against ourselves. We create our own success by exceeding our own standards not by defeating others. So let’s go out and become the best version of ourselves!