Competition is a defining factor in many areas of modern life. People compete for positions at work, for prizes in sports, even for grades in education. The competitive nature moves people forward; they want to achieve, earn more, be better than others. Some people want to win so badly they will stop at nothing. Competition is the engine of progress; however, it can also have a negative impact.
The critical characteristic of competitiveness is motivation, which forces people to achieve specific goals. Particularly, extrinsic and intrinsic types of motivation, in combination, give personal satisfaction from achievements (GetPsyched, 2018). Extrinsic motivation refers to incentives that other people reward a person with, such as sports prizes or pay increases. This type is very effective, however, for a short period (Burkus, 2020). Extrinsic motivation gives a person a goal defined by others, upon reaching which he receives satisfaction, not leading to further progress. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is self-directed goals (GetPsyched, 2018). For example, developing skills, defeating a competitor, or receiving a compliment. This type gives a person an incentive to constant growth, however, without external stimuli, a person will not feel the value of the result (Burkus, 2020). Thus, the desire for internal development is determined by external factors, such as more successful people, a more difficult task.
Competition with a person or with circumstances is undoubtedly the engine of development. However, there is a danger that it will grow from a healthy aspiration into rivalry (Ledberett, 2017). Having a constant incentive to succeed is essential for development, and it is crucial to view competition as an opportunity to get better. However, feelings of jealousy, perceived superiority, and selfishness can turn competition into permissiveness rather than personal improvement. The result depends on the goals: if the goal is personal growth, the competition will only bring positive results. It is impossible to be successful in stagnation as well; it is vital to move forward continually.
Burkus, D. (2020). Extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Ledbrett, B. (2017). How to stop comparing and start competing [Video]. YouTube. Web.
GetPsyched (2018). The psychology of competitiveness – what psychology says about competitiveness [Video]. YouTube. Web.