Unfortunately, the answer to whether being competitive is good is “it depends,” but don’t worry, I don’t plan to finish the article here.
In this article, I want to talk about the pros and cons of being competitive so you can decide for yourself when it is good and when it is bad to be competitive.
I’m a pretty competitive person, and I always thought this was a great quality until I met my wife. She showed me how you could enjoy your life without winning all the time and also why being too competitive can be stressful and have significant disadvantages in certain situations.
I wouldn’t play a video game or board game if it weren’t challenging and involved competition. Now I know much better how to enjoy a casual game that is fun and easy or spend time with friends even if it doesn’t seem to be meaningful.
This article is written from the perspective of someone who has seen many competitive people since I finished Sports High School and Physical Education and Sports College.
Is being competitive good?
Being competitive is good because it accelerates your progress toward your goals in life/career. However, being too competitive with friends, family, coworkers, and even yourself can have significant downsides, like annoying people or having a stressful life.
There are more disadvantages of being too competitive that we will discuss when we get to the pros and cons.
When you don’t want to do anything with no clear winner and loser, you treat everything like a competition and end up being a one-upper or know-it-all, and none of those two have a successful social life and healthy relationships.
The most healthy competition is the one with yourself, you should aim for progress as much as possible, but even then, you have to be careful because there are moments when trying to be better all the time might not work in your favor.
We all know those people that always want more even if they don’t seem to compare themselves with others, but at the same time, they don’t seem to be happy, that is because they don’t understand that regressing and stagnating is also part of the journey. There should be a balance between seeking progress and being grateful for what you accomplished at any point in life.
The same goes for being competitive with others, there is a balance that works best between being too competitive and not being competitive at all.
The difference between competing with yourself and competing with others is that you will always find someone better to compete with, which can be a vicious circle you can’t get out of. While competing with yourself will make you realize that you at least accomplished what you wanted and makes you feel like you touched a goal, even if you set another goal right after that.
One more important aspect when you compete with yourself is that you know what you are competing with. Especially in this world of social media, we don’t know what is real and what is not when we compare ourselves with others because we can be deceived pretty easily by someone else’s success in life on social media.
Pros And Cons of being competitive
Here are some pros and cons to help you decide when you should be competitive and when not, and also to help you understand why sometimes being relaxed and not doing everything to win might be the best thing you can do.
Whether we talk about personal life, social life, career, or so on, being competitive with yourself or others gives you a bigger chance of having better results.
This is the main benefit of being competitive in life, and this is why many people like to brag about how competitive they are, but it also has some downsides if you are not careful.
But the fact that it makes you active and less likely to procrastinate is a good thing most of the time, so when you want to achieve something, especially professionally, it is ok to allow yourself to be a bit more competitive.
-Appreciated at work
Usually, the ones that want to advance in their career and are competitive are more appreciated at work and have bigger chances of actually getting to where they want.
This might also make some people hate you because it’s easy to annoy or upset people around you when you are too competitive, even if you get what you want.
-More in shape
People that are too competitive tend to work out more, the gym is the perfect place where you can see who is competitive and who is not.
The advantage of being competitive is that it makes you exercise more, which is not a bad idea in most cases. However, there is a point between having a better body and going to an extreme and damaging your health because you are too competitive.
Many people try to lift way more than they should only because they compare to others, and I was one of them. To illustrate why the gym is so competitive is enough to say that the first question when you talk about the gym, especially as a man is”How much do you bench?” without any context. Some put a lot more weights than they can lift, but they will ask someone to help them and do three repeats, but they will brag about how much they bench. And the person who helps lifts the bar a bit, which helps a lot, not just a bit.
Being competitive makes you always want more and more, and it’s hard to realize when to stop and enjoy what you already have, which leads to a stressful life.
Also, comparing yourself to others is a game you can’t win since there is always someone who is or at least seems to be better than you at a certain thing.
-Annoying for others
When you can’t stop competing with others and have a chill moment, you become very annoying to people around you when they are not willing to compete. Transforming anything into a competition is just cringe, it is not about being productive or efficient.
-Unhealthy work-life balance
Usually, we are not competitive when it comes to having a happy life with our kids and wives. When we think about competition, we think more about our work than our personal life. It’s quite easy to see how a very competitive person doesn’t have a healthy work-life balance.
This happens because happiness is not measurable, so you can’t compare how happy your relationship is to other people’s relationships, but you can compare how much you earn, how big of a house you have and what car you drive.
For example, I spend a lot of time with my wife and I enjoy that a lot, but no one will compare this. They will compare how much they make with how much I make without realizing that I work 4-6 hours a day and they might work 10-12. This means that I spend the rest of the time with my wife, walking, preparing healthy food, exercising more regularly, or hanging out with friends, which might not seem productive when you compare just how much you make.
When you are too competitive, you will focus on achieving more all the time or be as productive as you can without realizing that not everything has to be that way.
The funny part is that you might lose productivity in the long term when you don’t take a break to relax or have fun.
-Predisposition to risk and shortcuts
The most competitive people have a predisposition to risk and shortcuts. The best example is again the gym, a person that is too competitive will have higher chances of looking for any way to get the results they want as fast as possible, which might lead them to take steroids they don’t know about or other things like that.
Read Also: Is Being Diplomatic Good Or Bad?
Being competitive is good in certain situations, but being too competitive will make even the pros of being competitive less obvious.
So, don’t be afraid of being competitive but be careful and quick to draw a line between being competitive and too competitive.