How can competition affect your goals?


Competition can significantly impact personal goals in both positive and negative ways.

On the positive side, competition can serve as a powerful motivator. Social comparisons drive us to improve and achieve more. For instance, the rivalry between UNC and Duke in basketball highlights how competition can lead to ongoing motivation and success, as each team strives to outperform the other. Similarly, CEO compensation wars demonstrate how competitive comparisons can lead to significant outcomes, although in this case, it led to salaries skyrocketing 1.

There are also virtuous forms of competition, which focus on striving together and emulation rather than negative comparisons. This type of competition, which isn't rooted in envy or discontent, can lead to personal growth and a healthier, more supportive community. For example, ultrarunner Sabrina Little speaks about competition as a means to outdo one's own achievements and inspire others to do the same, turning it into a collaborative effort that brings out the best in everyone 2.

Overall, competition can be a double-edged sword. It can inspire and push individuals to achieve more, but it can also foster resentment and unchecked ego if not managed healthily. The key is to focus on personal growth and mutual improvement rather than solely on beating others.

Social Comparisons Drive Motivation

Adam discusses how social comparisons are ingrained in human nature, influencing our motivation to cooperate or compete. He highlights examples like UNC and Duke basketball rivalry and CEO compensation comparisons, showing how these comparisons can fuel success but also breed resentment and unchecked competition.

The Art of Manliness

#376: When to Compete, When to Cooperate, and How to Succeed at Both