Are You The “Competitive Type?” 3 Reasons Why It’s OK

Personal Development

Being competitive has a bad rap. Let’s face it: How many times have you squirmed at the sight of a colleague who will not rest until they get that promotion? How many times have you felt awful for wanting to win so badly? How about that time you couldn’t get your mind to rest when someone else was picked for the job of your dreams? The Thesaurus offers some interesting synonyms for the term ‘competitive’: Dog-eat-dog, killer instinct, antagonistic, cut-throat, combative…etc When did wanting to win or competitiveness become laced with so much negative connotations? It is true that some people view life as a win-at-all-costs affair. But, is being competitive all bad, all the time?

Being Competitive Is Utterly Natural

Everyone feels competitive. If something really matters to you, your most natural instinct is to do what it takes to attain it, keep it or protect it. If you have been eyeing a promotion at work and three other colleagues are vying for the same position, it is completely reasonable to feel competitive and to want to ‘win’ that promotion. Failing to acknowledge competition as a natural, human instinct causes us to fester in negative emotions that affect our progress. For example, by failing to recognize your competitive nature towards your colleagues as a healthy element of the workplace, your competitive feelings could turn into jealousy and ‘catty behaviour’. The first step to leveraging your competitive nature is to acknowledge that competition is healthy, and a natural inclination that all humans experience.

Going Beyond Average

It is said that the Steve Jobs, the Oprahs, the Beyoncés and the Zuckerbergs of this world are usually Type A personalities i.e. they are the competitive types, the go-getters. If you are naturally inclined to do what it takes to succeed, if you are the type who is keen on getting things done, if you stop at nothing until you attain those goals, then you have succeeded at ‘going beyond average’—something that millions of people want to do, but never seem to be able to. On the flip side of the coin is self-denial and lack of ambition. Suppressing the need to win or denying your competitive nature can slowly chip away at your ambitions. Look at it this way: Joe is a graphic designer who is smart, knows what he wants, and does what it takes to get it. He put in an application for a job at a well-known boutique game studio but he does not get the job. He is obviously furious. He can choose to say, “I am no longer going to put myself out there to make a fool of myself.” This sense of suppressing his competitive urge can quickly lead to passivity and a lack of progress. Alternatively, he can acknowledge his natural fury for not getting the job and look for creative ways to land his dream job. Competitive people do not settle until they get what they want—this is what it means to go beyond average.

Finding new solutions

Embracing a competitive spirit is especially important in the business environment. Competitive types are often the first ones to find new ways to solve problems and challenges that come up along the way. For example, say you develop a new product and as you formulate a plan to take it out to the market, you find out that someone else is selling almost the same product as you. Some people may choose to call it a day, ditch their product and close shop. Some may resort to sending snarky emails to their competitors. Yet, some may acknowledge their fury that their product is already facing competition but find innovative ways to make the product stand out in the marketplace. Competitive types are always at the forefront of making situations work to their advantage, instead of taking a passive approach. There is no shame in wanting to win. And, there is no better way to win than to go the whole nine yards to get what you want. Being competitive doesn’t mean undercutting others; it means staying true to your worthy goals.

Are you the competitive type? Leave me a comment below

2 Comments

  1. Hi Andrew,

    I’ve become less competitive over the years, but yep, I still have that streak in me. Super points here.

    I played basketball from when I was 5 years old up through Junior College. I then was a bodybuilder from when I was 19 to about 36, being heavily into the Iron Game. When I started the online bit I thrived off of the same competition.

    Now I focus more on co-creating instead of competing, but I do like to push a bit more sometimes, competing with myself, and yep, I am Type A at times, although I’ve learned to chill more too.

    I’d say, if you are a Type A personality you’d only hurt yourself to suppress your competitive urges. You’ll feel like the music’s still inside of you, dying to make it’s way out.

    On the flip side, if you’re naturally easy going it’s tough to force yourself to be competitive. Some more chill folks accomplish awesome things too…..but for the most part, the top performers are definitely competitive types who push themselves beyond where most others top.

    Awesome points Andrew. Thanks much for sharing.

    I’ll tweet this one out.

    Ryan

    • Andrew says:

      Hey Ryan, thanks for the comments! It’s good to hear your views.

      I totally agree with you. Fighting the urge not to be competitive just isn’t a good idea if it’s part of who you are. I think the word competitive is often used by others in a negative way and makes some people feel embarrased about it. i.e. he is so competitive. The truth is, at least for me, competitive is healthy and as long as its used in a positive way can have amazing benefits.

      For me, I’ve always been competitive in sport and whenever there are league tables or ways to measure progress I’m all in!

      Thanks my friend, and have a great day!

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