Life is just life. And it’s different for all of us. It’s how we think and act that determines how our lives turn out. The amount of success, struggle, fun, anger, fear, and love we get to experience on our journey is all determined by where we focus our attention.
If you like to compete, that’s great! Because, if you choose to make your life into a big competitive game, then you can do so. And if you don’t like to compete, then this is also great! Because competition exists for us only if we choose to participate in it.
Competition exists in many different arenas and many different aspects of our lives. And we can choose to take it or leave it. We may have a football club in our neighborhood, but it’s up to us if we wish to join it or not. Or, we may have a high performer in our workplace, and the choice is ours to try to keep up with them or not.
Therefore, Is Life A Competition?
Life is a variety of many different experiences. Contrast and diversity reign everywhere and can never be removed from our world. However, we can choose to participate or not. Therefore, our lives can be as competitive as we want to make them. And it is our essential nature, our personalities, that determine how much we accept as part of our experience, or not. In other words, the choice is ours!
Does competition have to exist?
We were born and one day we will pass away. Everything in between makes up our lives….. This is where we get to experience life in a physical body on the wonderful planet Earth. And what we do with our time is essentially up to us. And as long as anyone wants to outdo someone else, there is competition.
We, as individuals, cannot say that competition shouldn’t exist. Because the reality is that we are not responsible for the way other people choose to live their lives. I imagine we would resent them telling us how we should live just as much as they resent us telling them what they can and can’t do? Therefore, it’s best to let everyone have their own unique experience and be as competitive as they like.
Our life experiences are all about making choices, and hopefully, the right choices will give us the happy and satisfying lives we desire. A common choice is to conform to the consensus version of reality. This means we go to school, graduate, get a job, fall in love, buy a house, have kids, holiday for three weeks a year, retire, and then finally (hopefully) enjoy our ‘well-earned freedom.’
“Great things never came from comfort zones.”
We could also choose something that really excites us and pursue it until we excel at the expense of all acceptable norms of our societies. This is the extreme of competition, and most people choose something in between where they may be competitive in some aspects of their lives (sports or work) and not competitive in others (like relationships.)
So if we are completely honest with ourselves, we will understand that we are all competitive in either acknowledged ways or more subtle ways, maybe a bit each day. Have you ever innocently raced the kids down the sand to be the first in the water? Have you ever speed up a little to prevent the car on the inside lane from getting in front of you?……
Competition does need to exist. Competition implies that we are striving to become better. And this means growth or evolving from where we are to a new level of skill or understanding. And really, is there anyone out there who would consider this a negative thing?
So yes, I believe competition does need to exist. But the form of, and style of, competition will determine if it is beneficial or detrimental for our overall individual and collective wellbeing and growth.
Is competition healthy for us?
Again, I have to stress that we are all individuals. This means that we experience and react to life in ways that are not all the same. So the answer to this question is competition healthy for us, depends on our individual mindsets and motivations.
Some of us thrive when we are under pressure. The competitive streak in us can motivate us to excel and achieve beyond our previous limits. Whereas, others of us may collapse under the slightest pressure imposed from outside of us. The pressure doesn’t even have to be from an external source…. It often comes from within, from our own internal dialogues.
At times, competition can also be ‘unhealthy.’ If it is making us worry a lot, stress out, think we are losers, jealous of others, or just wearing us down, then we should take a step back and evaluate our priorities.
The first reason for these adverse conditions can be from sources outside of ourselves. If this is the case we could change our environment to rid our lives of these negative conditions. Because do we really need to, or want to, compete with our colleagues at work, our mates in the gym, the people living next door, etc?
Maybe it’s a good idea to evaluate what competing is costing us in terms of our mental, emotional, and physical health compared to what the upside of the competition is?
“The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I’m planning to test my own boundaries.” – Rain
The second reason for the adverse conditions listed above can be our own negative self-talk. And if we are in the habit of self-mental abuse, we should seriously consider reprogramming our minds for success and happiness! Telling ourselves that we are not good enough, that we are lazy, that we are too slow or too dumb, eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (For more information about this, read my post on The Law of Attraction.)
Maybe the need to compete only exists in our minds. Are we ego-driven to be better than everyone else, and if so, where did we adopt this belief from? Or is it something that is specifically expressed by our boss, our partner, or our competitive mates? Again, maybe we need to pause and ask ourselves, what toll is this need to compete taking on our overall state of wellbeing?
When is competition healthy?
Competition is good for us if we GROW ourselves and it helps us achieve our goals. However, to get to the point where competition works in our favor we must have a good sense of ourselves and a clear idea of the direction we want to travel (we must have clear goals.)
Why do we need clear goals? Because all competitions, even against ourselves, needs a defined outcome…. otherwise, how will we determine if we have succeeded or not?
Setting goals ignites passion within us, a drive to grow and become better people. Only then we can achieve more than we currently are. This gives our lives more meaning and adds joy and fulfillment daily as we expand beyond our previous limits.
“Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I’m doing.” – Phil Jackson
In contrast, doing things to please others often means that our minds and hearts are not ‘pleasantly’ or willingly engaged. This is not conducive to living happily day by day. And since the purpose of the competition is to become better or happier than we were before, competition only supports our wellbeing if it improves our personal lives in some way.
Competition with ourselves almost always involves us focusing on things that we choose to be doing rather than things we think we have to be doing. And this is very important in terms of the satisfaction and fulfillment we feel when achieving our goals.
So, to live a better life, we should forget about competing on other people’s terms, and instead focus our energies on becoming the best person we can be, on our terms, and in regard to what we are passionate about. In this way, we will live a rewarding and happy life.
Because in life, there is no singular definition of winning. For one person it can be completing a marathon even if it takes twice as long as everyone else. For another, it can be raising happy and successful children or completing a daily task of writing 1000 words towards a new book.
But one thing is for certain, and that is this: If we have passion and desire and are striving towards achieving our goals, we are competing, regardless if it is against ourselves or others. And we don’t need to be the best at everything to ‘win.’ We just need to give our best performance and we will feel like winners!
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms.”
– Zen Shin
And when we feel like winners, we act like winners and this is inspiring for ourselves and for those we love. And our lives are better because we lived with passion and the desire to achieve our goals and dreams.
I wish you a wonderful life, and thank you all for participating in this experience,
With much respect for all souls who play the game of life,
2 thoughts on “Is Life A Competition? (Life Is Competitive And A Journey: It’s Up To Us To Choose!)”
Is it possible that we have only one of two choices? Chase success by living a competitive lifestyle, or enjoy the fullness of life by riding the waves? It made me think, is there a midway, because these are in essence the two kinds of people. The ones who pay the salaries and others, satisfied to do the work.
As you say, some only thrive on competition to better themselves, and for some, it does not seems that important, they just mind their own business and live moment to moment, happily ever after!
Thank you, it was a thought-provoking concept.
Hi Estelle, Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article.
There are never ever only two choices. There are the extremes that you mentioned and then everything in between as well.
Fortunately for us, life is dynamic and therefore constantly changing. This means that we may get to experience some highs, some lows, and many things that fall in between.
It is through the exposure to the contrasts in our lives that we hopefully learn to tune our minds towards only the things that we wish to achieve. And if we can do this, focus only on what we want, to the exclusion of all that we don’t want, we will be certain to achieve it.
It doesn’t really matter if we choose to compete or not. The real joy in our life experience is to be found in the achieving of our goals. So if our goals involve being better than others, it will be necessary for us to compete with others. If our goals require that we improve on the person we were yesterday, then it’s still a competition because it still requires that we grow beyond what we previously were……
And if we don’t take ourselves and our competitions too seriously, we will enjoy the journey.
I wish you all the best,