Today is game one in a three-game (post) series on competition! I’m super excited about this series because competition affects us all – whether we are competing in a pageant, for a job, on a team, or simply to see if we can keep the guy who cut you off a few seconds ago from joining your lane as his lane comes to an end….road rage, much? who would do that?! (sheepishly-raising-hand-in-corner). I think we all encounter competition in some form through the course of each and every day. Something that is so laced into our daily lives deserves a post, or three, about it! So, in an attempt to grasp what competition is (or isn’t), and how to use it to become better, we begin the series, our inaugural competition post on…drum roll…
COMPETITION vs. COMPARISON
Competition can be a good thing. It keeps us sharp, on our toes, trying out best. Think about it: if it wasn’t a possibility to “beat” a record, or win a competition, or gain more clients, would the feat itself be as alluring? What incentive would you have to keep getting better if there was nothing against which to measure yourself? It keeps us sharp, focused, determined. Yet for all the good in competition, there is something that can be deeply disturbing when we elevate competition to a different playing field.
It’s the comparison game. And it’s u-g-l-y.
While we tend to lump competition and comparison together, they are actually very, very different.
Competition says “may the best man win” whereas comparison says “you aren’t as good as me.”
Competition brings out the best in individuals where comparison tears down.
Competition fuels inspiration where comparison drives envy.
Competition can produce different results on a different day when comparison always leaves you feeling inadequate.
Competition focuses on the achievement where comparison focuses on the deficit.
Competition celebrates victory where comparison inflates defeat.
Competition encourages unique abilities where comparison demands to uniformity.
Competition leaves you free to be your best while comparison is a prison where you are held captive by others’ achievements.
Competition allows you to chase your own dreams while comparison stunts your creativity and leaves you trying to be someone, something else.
What a crazy game, and yet we are all susceptible to it and participate in it. So I ask – which game are you playing?
Getting out of the comparison game isn’t easy: it forces us to acknowledge deep insecurities and fears inside of us. But once you do – you will be free to stand next to your biggest rival or fiercest competitor with confidence. To recognize their successes and, instead of being intimidated by it, use it as fuel to be your best.
The score for game one in our series: Competition, 1. Comparison, 0.