The Key to Competition: Why Competitive Individuals Succeed

Why do competitive individuals succeed? 

This question can be asked to multiple people and you will receive a variety of different answers. This is because many people perceive competition differently. While everyone's view of competition may be based in experience, it does not mean they truly understand what being a competitive individual is and what benefits come from it. 


Before I give my take on what competition is and why competitive individuals succeed, I want to posit 3 simple questions that will help one better understand and reevaluate their take on competition:

1) Is there a universal key to becoming competitive? 

2) Is competitiveness something naturally acquired, or is it learned? 

3) What is competition and what benefits come from it?

Is there a universal key to becoming competitive? One’s answers may be: “Sure there is! Just outwork and beat everyone, and do not stop until you have done so.” Another may say “Yes - find the most competitive person you know and copy all their styles, tricks and advice.” Although these answers may seem like a “simple key” to becoming more competitive, it’s not. Their answers are not completely wrong because they have some valuable parts one can take from it. First let me start by saying there is no magic key, no instruction manual, no universal tool or anything to becoming more competitive. The key is within yourself. The amount you put into some goal will show your competitiveness. The more you put into that goal, the more likelihood there is to increase your competitiveness. 

Everyone has a different level of competitiveness. Some may have high levels of competitive where they “go hard” from the start and others may have low levels of competitiveness where they have to gradually build to their goal. Yet they are both becoming more competitive because they continue to work on that goal until its achieved. Referring back to those two answers what one can take from it is not to continue until you beat everyone, but to not stop working on your goal. Another part one can take is yes find someone competitive not to copy them but to help you work harder towards your goal. Copying them won't help because those are styles they created for themselves. You will have to create your own.  

Is competitiveness a natural gift, or is it learned? I believe competitiveness is an ability that is for everyone, but on different levels. Some are born with the higher competitiveness that makes them compete harder towards things in their lives, while others may not have the innate need to compete. Now this is where the learning part comes into play. 

Being competitive is not learned. What is learned is what competitive level one self is and through their environments and self-want will increase that competitive level. This is an ability that is within all of us that can be brought forth and worked upon to make better. We can relate this to riding a bike. One has the ability within them to become a great bike rider. It is through their environment and self-want to become a better rider that they bring it forth. Everyone has this ability within them. No one is born a true competitor or learn how to be from others. They only enhance that ability to become great competitors.  

What is competition, and what benefits is come from it? This can be simply answered with a general definition: competition is to contest against another to obtain a prize or some end goal. People will say the benefits that come from competition are attention, bragging rights, first place, prizes, achieving a goal, etc. Now these benefits are all true and great, but they don’t hit the most important benefit of competition, which is the benefit of becoming a better version of yourself. 

Yes, competition is about going against another in hopes to out match them; however, that is not the only thing competition is. The true meaning of competition is to bring the best out in one self - winning is secondary. When people compete with one another, they are bettering each other whether they notice it or not. Through this they will become a better version of themselves no matter if they lost the competition. All the benefits mentioned are true, but the most important benefit is what comes from the center of competition and that is a better you. All else is secondary to it. 

Why do competitive individuals succeed? As one can see from my answers above, I view competition as not only going against someone to become first or win a prize. But to challenge each other to become a better version of themselves. Competition is deeper than just a materialistic prize or attention from others. It boils down to changing oneself for the better. As for why competitive individuals succeed it simply boils down to how hard one is willing to work to reach that goal, that is simply what it is about. Working hard and staying consistent on the path towards their goal will not only lead to success, but also to bettering themselves.

 I do, however, want to point out an important thing about success. Many people believe that one has succeeded when they have reached the top or won a grand prize, but they are wrong. I believe any amount of success can be considered as succeeding. Even if the person competition doesn’t win, he still succeeded because he bettered himself. 

We need to stop viewing success in terms of material and superficial things, and start noticing the small things - ask yourself, "where am I now from the start of this challenge? What have I learned from this challenge? Who have I become due to this challenge? Did I make it that much closer to my end goal?" 

These little things are success and how I personally measure success. We all have to face the fact that we are not going to success in every competition. However, we can if we measure success in those little things.