Competition can be healthy in certain circumstances, but often it’s both frustrating and exhausting. Constantly having to try to outdo our friends and colleagues, even strangers, takes us down to our Lower Self. The problem is that we’ve all been told our whole lives that we must be successful and to be successful we must do better than those around us. We’re told that competition brings out the best in us, makes us do our best. How true is that, really?
In End the Struggle and Dance With Life, Susan related this anecdote about her own experience with competition.
A while ago, I gave a talk at an all-day symposium. Three other speakers were on the schedule, all of whom were household names in the self-help field. As I was getting ready to walk on the stage to face 3,000 people sitting in the audience, my adrenaline was flowing big time! My husband, Mark, kissed me on the cheek and whispered in my ear, “You’ll be the best.”
In the past, I had loved hearing that. I needed to hear that! But this time, something didn’t feel right about it. I suddenly become aware of the negative consequences of trying to be “the best.” It created tension; it created alienation from the other speakers; and it took me off my Higher Self purpose which was to help others. As this Aha! hit me, I whispered in Mark’s ear, “Thanks for the loving support, but next time, just say, ‘You’ll be good enough.’“ And with that letting go of my need to be the best, I walked confidently onto the stage knowing that my only purpose was to put love into this world, not to compete with other people who are trying to put their love into the world as well.
It has been vehemently argued that competition is necessary in order for us to become better performers. I, and others, question this assumption. In this particular case, feeling relieved of the burden of having to be the best, I connected with my audience better than I ever had before. I flowed. I was at ease. I was there simply to give what I had to give…out of love, not out of fear of not being the best. Without the need to compete, I gave the best talk I had ever given. So much for competition being necessary to improve performance!
It’s not that excellence can’t result from competition, but competition in daily life can make us crazy and is very demoralizing. How many times have you put your all into something only to not do so well? If you were also competing at the same time, it makes the failure even worse to handle. When we understand that we have a higher meaning and purpose in this world, we will have peace and confidence no matter the outcome.