Compete with yourself

Is competition a good thing? We are all scripted to believe it is. People often say things like, “We welcome competition.” Is competition a natural thing? Is it a product of society or is it something inherent in all of us. Animals don’t compete. They try to survive – there is a big difference. Animals certainly don’t try and better each other in the process. The leopards, for example, are climbing trees, not the corporate ladder. It’s not about eating more, or catching the antelope faster than the next guy. It’s about eating – that’s it. I think. So, do we need to beat our competitors? Surely we should strive to beat ourselves, besides, why climb the corporate ladder when you can take the escalator?

A business represents a group of people – a team. And this is probably where the cracks start appearing. A team should try challenging itself to continually improve on the day before, the week before or the year before. And we need teams. “We” compete better than “I”. There is enough competition in the marketplace – there is no need to bring it into your corporation.

I guess we can debate whether competition is a natural principle for hours? Or whether it is something that is a result of our surroundings and the society we have been conditioned by. The world is in an anxious state (just watch the news on any given day). There are too many obsolete and incomplete paradigms in the world. Competition is one of them. We live in a world where we are told that competition is good for us. And it is a powerful, deeply entrenched principle that is old fashioned. It is a not paradigm of mutual benefit, but rather of win/lose. Win/lose is incomplete. All teams need to win. Take a soccer match, for example. Can both teams win? How can this be so? Dig deep into your imaginations here. If the principle was “stretch” and not “competition” then both teams could win. The game could always be a draw and each team would try to do better than they did before and they would stretch themselves and try to realize their full potential. And in the match itself you would exercise, bond, socialize and have fun. In short: we could get 2 teams to play each other and reap all the benefits of social interaction and yet at the same time we could have everyone be winners.