In this highly competitive world, there is no need to explain what competition is. The dictionary tells us that competition is all about pitting yourself against your peers, and often against yourself. Competition is being in the race and the strife to come first. Competition is trying to win in every situation. We are instilled with a sense of competition from a very young age at school, we are told to excel in academics by leaving our peers behind, in the field, and at work, we need to do better than the others so that our appraisals translate into great hikes in salary and perks. This is, in fact, a healthy trait as it allows us to do better, but sometimes things can take an ugly turn. In this article, we will look at both sides of the issue.
Positive effects of competition:
First of all, we will look at the positive effects of competition.
Competition is what keeps us moving forward. Imagine a workplace where you are the only employee. You would never have to go the extra mile to prove yourself against your colleagues, to get that extra benefit and early promotion. You would be stuck in a rut, never having the zeal to do better and learn new things. What you knew would be enough, because there would be no one to prove you wrong or pose a threat to your position.
Incentive for improvement
The knowledge that there are others who would gladly take your position acts as the incentive to improve ourselves. Suppose you are a company that creates a product no one else does. You would be supremely complacent in what you create, because there is no one to say that they can create the exact same thing, or improve on your model. As a result, people will quickly lose interest in what you make because they would see no improvement; if what you make is an essential item, your consumers will be stuck with a possibly inferior or mediocre product, but they will have no other choice.
Good for business
Being competitive is the key to growing a business. You provide a product or a service that is provided by a number of other companies. This means that you have a lot of competition in your sector, with other companies always trying to eat into your business. The only way forward is to ensure that you improve what you are providing, so that you can set yourself apart from the others. Once you do that, your customers will see that your company is the one to opt for. And as any businessman knows, if what you provide is of supreme quality, people will happily pay a higher price for it.
Negative effects of competition:
All said and done, competition can become extremely unhealthy if things go out of hand.
Makes you unproductive
Unhealthy competition is nothing but jealousy. If your competitiveness goes out of hand, it will turn into sheer jealousy. And that has no positive effects; jealousy is all consuming and leads to groundless speculations about the success of others. Jealousy serves no purpose but to make you extremely unhappy and ultimately completely unproductive. You will be so consumed in lamenting your fate and condemning the success of others that in the end, you will be able to do nothing to change things.
Can become corrupt
When competition becomes unhealthy, it leads to corruption. We read and hear about crimes being committed out of jealousy and unhealthy competition. Students have been known to kill their biggest competitor, and sportsmen have been brought to shame by news of their use of performance enhancing drugs. Nothing good ever comes out of letting your competitiveness get out of hand; it is important to remember that it is a competition, not a fight, and participation is often more important than winning.
Leads to exhaustion
An incredible level of competition will leave you exhausted. If you are constantly in the rat race, pushing your limits and trying to do better than others, it takes a mental and physical stress on you, and you are likely to burn out very early. Besides, the load of expectation that you set upon yourself will also leave you in constant fear of not meeting them, and can lead to a variety of psychosomatic illnesses.
The best course of action is always to take things easy, but not too easy. If you do not participate in competition, you will probably be very happy for the time being, but ultimately you will feel left out, regretful, and sorry for yourself when you see your peers moving far ahead in life than you. But it is also important to keep in mind that getting way too competitive will come in the way of healthy relationships and a healthy personality.