Is Competition Good or Bad?
Is Competition Good or Bad? Well, like anything…it depends.
And in the case of competition, it depends where the feeling comes from.
This week, Lexi and I talk about extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation and how your instinctual mind and your Ego could take over and make the act of competition a destructive thing.
The show covers…
1. What is Competition?
By definition, competition is “the act or process of competing” , with competing being “to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective (such as position, profit, or a prize) : be in a state of rivalry “
A great article in “Psychology Today” by Sander van der Linden, Ph.D. states, “A competition, by its very nature, is what psychologists call an “extrinsic incentive.” Extrinsic simply means that the motivation to adopt a behavior or decision is sourced externally rather than internally (e.g., when you do something because you get a reward for it). A fundamental characteristic (and downside) of nearly all extrinsic incentives is that they only tend to work for as long as the incentive is maintained!”
2. Why are we naturally competitive?
As some scholars argue, “competitiveness” is a biological trait that co-evolved with the basic need for (human) survival. However, we also develop other Ego-based reasons, which we go into detail about in the show.
3. Is Competition Good or Bad?
Here’s what I think…
The Bad: At face value, extrinsic motivation is ego and/or instinctually based, both of which are not the strongest legs to stand on when it comes to being authentic or when it comes to making any solid changes in your life.
The Good: However, when competition is combined with cooperation, there are a number of benefits to your true self as well as society in general. “Humans not only survived by competing but perhaps more importantly, we survived by cooperating with one another. In the words of Bertrand Russell, “the only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.”
We end the show by sharing tips on how to best use “competition” as an internal building block, creating a deeper sense of self and a better connection with your tribe.
As the show winds down, I mention a very interesting “competition” study that was conducted with kids at a basketball camp.
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