Naturally, some of us are more competitive than others, but the vast majority of us have a good degree of competition hardwired into us. If you think you are not competitive in the least, ask yourself: have you ever felt a twinge of desire, jealousy or envy when looking at another person’s accomplishments or lifestyle? If you said yes, you are competitive otherwise you wouldn’t care what others have.
Now before I offend anyone let me make it clear that I am not equating healthy desire or competition with vulgar jealousy. There’s a fine line between unhealthy jealousy and a competitive spirit that pushes you towards obtaining the same as another individual has. Let’s break this down into a specific example:
First, we have Joe, an average guy that struggled to pay the bills each month. One evening while watching television he catches The Apprentice, saw the host and started thinking to himself: “I wish I had what he had. It’s not fair that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth while I sit here at risk of losing my home.”
Next, we have Mary, another individual that was barely able to keep up with the bills each month. She also tuned in to the television show, and had similar thoughts, though there was a distinct difference: “I wish I had what he had. In fact, I’m going to sign up for a real estate course and learn the business such that years down the road I can match his success.”
In the above examples, both would like to obtain the host’s status and fortunes, but only one had a realistic shot at actually improving their lifestyle. Joe was practicing sheer, unadulterated jealousy, which is an ugly and self-destructive attitude that led him to rationalize that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In his eyes, life just wasn’t fair, and there was nothing he could do about it.
On the flip side, Mary recognized that the host was a savvy businessman that made his fortunes via real estate. Sure, he might have had a head start with the properties inherited by his father, but anyone with enough determination and vision could potentially learn the real estate market and take their own slice of the pie. She embraced her competitive spirit. She wanted what the host had and was going to make a determined effort to achieve her own success.
The above examples are highly exaggerated and quite frankly unrealistic for most of us as much as we’d like to become a billionaire. For most, it’s just not going to be their path. But that isn’t to say we cannot become very wealthy and even hit millionaire status if that is our goal. All it takes is a lot of hard work, determination, and a healthy sense of competition.
Most of us would like something that another person has, and while religions and society have trained us to reject such feelings, they aren’t inherently bad. If you allow your desires to turn into jealousy and envy then yes, you are walking down a bitter and self-destructive path, but if you instead convert your desires into an honest plan to match their achievements then you’re embracing your competitive spirit.
So reach for your desires. Embrace and nurture your inner competitive spirit such that it bubbles up and guides your actions each and every day. Competition is a wonderful motivator, and few of the world’s most successful individuals would have accomplished their goals and achievements without a strong competitive spirit.