By Jonathan Mansilla
There has been a lie floating around the world for too long. The idealization of competition is a negative instigator to success. Winning the fight was and always has been considered the ultimate goal for students, rivals, and businesses. Setting this false goal can be destructive and distracting to the greater heights everyone should be aiming for.
The way it works is this: people who are aiming to reach the top suddenly realize that there are others reaching for the same spot. Once they see them as a threat to their success, they become so obsessed with defeating the competition that they forget why they needed to eliminate them in the first place. This creates a hostile competitiveness that ends up killing both rivals, and no one reaches the top, which is a denial not just to them, but to society as a whole.
Let’s say there are two innovators who want to create the best way to make commuting more convenient. They want to make the breakthrough product first. They both come up with ideas to remove the traffic and improve the environmental cost of all the congested cars heading towards the big cities and realize that they both have incredibly similar ideas. They get frustrated and decide that the only way they’ll reach the top is to get rid of one another. They start sabotaging each other’s marketing campaigns and ideas. They become so engulfed with the thought that the only thing standing in their way of success is each other, and it becomes a fight to the death. In the end, no one wins. They spent so much time focusing on each other that their original goals were forgotten. The commuters don’t get the benefit of their ideas, and the competitors don’t find the success that they so wanted.
Each rival doing something different could have solved this. If they focused on their idea, improving it and making it different and wonderful, they wouldn’t have bothered with each other. Setting your eyes on the proper goal is imperative for actually reaching the success you want. So, throw competition out the window. You shouldn’t need competition for motivation to reach your goals: your goals should be motivational enough. Improving this world for the better is what we have to focus on, not on the other people who are trying to do the same.
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