Self Help

How Competition Impacts Our Lives

Most people find it enjoyable to be a little competitive. It goes without saying that those that succeed enjoy themselves far more. Humans have organized competitions at various times throughout history. The founders established the Olympic Games in this manner. Football championships today show how fun competition is appreciated throughout the world’s cultures. Competition is a vital factor for progress, finding fresh approaches to old issues, and increasing production. As a result, it is simple to use competition for projects that benefit both parties. Competitions organized by governments and municipalities to find creative projects and improvements for the benefit of everyone, as well as many charitable activities, exemplify instances where individuals actively contribute to societal progress.

But competition can sometimes have a negative side. Particularly in young people, high levels of competition cause them to show the negative side of this trait.

Overly Stressed Competition and Mental Health

We may compare ourselves to those around us even while we are working alone to accomplish something. At work, the same mechanism is used. People will compare their accomplishments to those of their peers, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Although working together to accomplish goals is common, eventually working together can become very competitive. Every one of us has seen how dynamic relationships can become, especially while working on a project together. Study groups at universities and work project teams can both quickly fuel a hostile competitive atmosphere between the participants. When competition heats up, people are more likely to adopt acts that will prevent others from “winning.”

According to research, sabotage increases significantly when cooperation gives way to competition. These actions are destructive and counterproductive because they have an impact on both the person doing the harm and the victim of the injustice.
Individuals’ priorities change as a result of the intense rivalry. Instead of working hard to obtain their own goal, they start concentrating on keeping others from achieving what they are capable of. According to studies, people who are on the verge of attaining their goal will eventually stop because they are trying to discredit a partner or a collaborator. They become less effective, and the time needed to complete the project grows.

The Destroying Force Ruining Mental Health

Researchers have discovered that everyone now competes in a much greater number of competitions in today’s dynamic environment. Because social media usually shows someone with a bigger house, a better career, or a happier family, it adds to feelings of ineptitude.

Both companies and schools encourage competitiveness, but it may easily be overdone. Unhealthy competition is a factor in a number of extremely noticeable detrimental consequences on mental health.

The first one—negative thoughts and a change in focus—has previously been stated. Many people would consider how to undermine the performance of others rather than how they could achieve their own aims. Such unfavourable ideas could overwhelm and consume you.
Excessive and unhealthy competition also naturally causes stress, envy, and anxiety.

Over-competition develops very early in life. One of the reasons why so many kids worry about going to school is because of this. They are prodded by both teachers and parents. Every time they perform poorly, these kids start to experience anxiety and excessive tension, which could eventually lead to depression.

The issue persists at work, where employees are frequently pushed past their breaking points by the daily grind and, once more, excessive demands. Successful people are constantly favoured. Those who are unable to do the same frequently feel inferior. The issue is exacerbated by media and web stories that highlight atypical accomplishments by instilling excessive expectations in both children and adults. Many of these people will start to feel inferior and completely dissatisfied with their performance and even their lives if they fall short of the standard being displayed.

Biological and Psychological Competition

By itself, competition is neither beneficial nor bad. Competition between organisms is a natural outcome of evolution in biology. For a finite number of resources like food, shelter, or mate candidates, all species must compete. The competitive nature of humans may be a natural result of this biological competition.

Some forms of rivalry can adversely impact a person’s capacity for reproduction and survival. For instance, a musician who enters a contest for a million dollars may be able to afford to buy a house big enough to accommodate several children, eat wholesome cuisine, and so forth.
Although the propensity to compete may be a natural development of biological competition, the psychological attribute of competitiveness frequently has little to do with survival. Healthy competition can help people feel better about themselves and enjoy life more. Additionally, it can spur people on to put in more effort in order to achieve their objectives.

Competitiveness and Personality

Competitiveness is frequently referred to be a personality attribute. In contrast to characteristics like neuroticism, extroversion, and novelty seeking, it is far less stable over the course of a person’s life.

The tendency for certain people to be more competitive than others is real. But other circumstances can also make people more competitive. People are also more inclined to be competitive if they grow up in societies that promote competition.Instances of competition are more probable when:

  • By evaluating themselves against others, they gauge their own worth. For instance, rather than focusing on their balance, timing, and other objective criteria, gymnasts may gauge their competence by how well they do in competitions.
  • The subject of the contest is significant to them. For instance, a person who values intelligence might be motivated to participate in spelling bees but not a dance competition.
  • Their rival has a comparable level of expertise. As opposed to a total amateur or an expert in the subject, people are more willing to compete against someone who is somewhat better or slightly worse than them.
  • They are familiar with their rival personally. When comparing yourself to friends rather than strangers, people tend to be more emotionally committed. Additionally, competition among individuals is more likely to occur in smaller groups.
  • They have a viewership. The pressure to perform well can intensify when peers are present.
  • They are ranked either very highly or very poorly. People who are on the verge of being “the best” might exert more effort. Similar to this, people would compete harder to avoid becoming “the worst” at anything.
  • The resources are scarce. For instance, in a desert as opposed to a grocery store, people are more prone to fight over food. One person’s gain is another person’s loss in a barren desert. However, everyone can “win” and purchase as much food as they require in a store.
Therapeutics for Competitiveness

You might benefit from professional support if the competition has disrupted your daily life and might address these things in therapy:

  • Achieving self-esteem that is unrelated to your social standing.
  • Setting ambitious yet reasonable goals.
  • Establishing limits with competitors who make you feel more competitive.
  • Find an activity you can enjoy without feeling the need to be particularly adept at it.
  • Treating corresponding sadness, anxiety, or other mental health problems.

You can achieve your goals with the aid of a qualified therapist. Getting assistance when you need it does not indicate weakness.

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