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 struggles to pay the bills each month. One evening while watching television he catches The Apprentice, sees Donald Trump and starts 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."
Across the town we have Mary, another individual that is barely able to keep up with the bills each month. She is also tuning in to the abovementioned television show, and she's thinking similar thoughts, though they have 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 Trump's status and fortunes, but only one has a realistic shot at actually improving his/her lifestyle. Joe is practicing sheer, unadulterated jealousy, which is an ugly and self-destructive attitude that leads him to rationalizing that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In his eyes, life just isn't fair, and there's nothing he can do about it.
On the flip side, Mary recognizes that Trump is a savvy businessman that has 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 is embracing her competitive spirit ? she wants what Trump has and she's going to do her best to stake her own claim.
The above examples are highly exaggerated and quite frankly unrealistic for most of us ? as much as we'd like to become a billionaire, it's just not going to be in the cards. 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 "elite" businessmen and individuals would have accomplished their goals and achievements without a strong competitive spirit.
Copyright 2005 Goals and Motivation.com
Jeffrey Rolo is an experienced human resources manager, business owner and also the owner of Goals and Motivation.com, a website offering a free 20+ page guide on goal setting. Visit http://www.goals-and-motivation.com to view this guide as well as other articles about goals and management.