Competition is a natural part of many situations in life, and it can even be a motivator. Unhealthy levels of competition, on the other hand, can leave you feeling pressed, jealous, anxious, and deeply frustrated. However, by developing and following guidelines for getting along well with others, as well as practising good thought habits, you can work more efficiently and feel better about yourself.
Part 1 Dealing with Others
1. Act with grace. You can’t guarantee that you’ll always be successful, but you can control how you feel. Focus on displaying good character whether you are at work, school, playing sports, or in any other type of competitive environment. Be proud of others’ and your own efforts, regardless of who wins. For example: Be a good sport. Take a moment after finishing a game to congratulate other players and celebrate having a good time. Whether you win or lose, do this.
Play the game fairly. If you don’t follow the rules, you won’t feel completely satisfied with your accomplishment.
Avoid trash-talking others in sports, school, and at work, for example.
Don’t be a grumpy loser. You don’t have to complain if you don’t win a game, get that big promotion at work, or get the highest grade. In the future, concentrate on improving and achieving your objectives.
2. Empathy should be practised. When you are under the stress of competition, take a moment to consider how others are feeling. They could be in the same boat as you. You will develop a more positive attitude toward competition if you develop the habit of thinking beyond your own goals and concerns.
To practise seeing the world through the eyes of others, ask yourself simple questions such as, “I know why I want this promotion—why might John Doe want it?”
3. Make use of your sense of humour. Often, a joke can alleviate the stress of competition. When you make a mistake, laugh at yourself a little and focus on improving at your own pace.
For example, if you’re playing basketball and you miss your tenth three-pointer in a row, say something amusing to yourself, such as “Wow, that ball just doesn’t feel like going in the net today.” Just keep going, and you can practise in your spare time if you want.
4. Avoid and identify covert competition. Sometimes competition isn’t as obvious as trying to win a game or an award. Instead, people can express their competitive attitudes more subtly through their words. This type of covert, indirect aggressive competition can be equally stressful and is usually unnecessary. Covert competition can be identified and avoided.
If a coworker receives a promotion that you desired, avoid making indirectly aggressive statements such as “Oh, I thought they wanted someone with more experience.” Instead, say something encouraging, such as, “Well, that sounds like a fantastic opportunity for you.”
If you get a promotion and a coworker says something subtly competitive to you, say something like, “I’ve been working really hard to get the skills and experience for this new position.”
5. Deal with others who are dishonest. When you’re trying to do things fairly, dealing with cheaters and rule breakers can be extremely frustrating. This is especially true when the stakes are high, as when competing for a title or award. However, there are some things you can do as an individual or as part of a group to reduce cheating and deception.
Extend the message that cheating is taking place. You are not required to “tell on” anyone individually, but if you notice something amiss, suggest that everyone go over the rules again.
Even if you have conclusive evidence that rules were broken, it may not be your responsibility to call someone out. If you normally report to a supervisor, coach, or other authority figure, inform him or her of the problem and decide how to proceed.
Make a “no-cheating” agreement with your teammates, coworkers, and so on. According to research, pledging an honour code reduces the prevalence of cheating.
Set a good example. Don’t cheat, and don’t encourage others to cheat. You may not be able to prevent all cheating at all times, but you will feel better about yourself if you live up to the standards you hold dear.
6. To reduce competition, keep some information private. It is important to remember that not all information needs to be shared in situations where personal competition is high, such as in schools or at work. Keeping some information private can help to reduce feelings of jealousy and anxiety, as well as unhealthy levels of competition. Schools, for example, are not required to use student names when publicly reporting test results, such as on bulletin boards. Instead, each student could be assigned a code, and their scores could be printed next to each code. As a result, each student will be aware of his or her own score but not of the scores of other students.
Managers should decide what types of information to keep private in the workplace to reduce competition, such as salaries, information from reviews and evaluations, and so on.
7. Make the appropriate environment. Those involved in a competitive field or situation frequently have the ability to create the environment they desire. When people collaborate instead of competing at all costs, there is room for both healthy competition and growth for everyone. For example, you could create a set of guidelines for competition in your school, workplace, or other setting that everyone can agree on, such as “No trash talking,” “Keep salary information private,” and so on.
If you are training in a sport where one person competes against another, such as track and field, collaborate with your coaches and fellow athletes to develop collaborative, peer training exercises in which those with strengths in a particular area help others improve.
Part 2 Finding the Right Attitude
1. Determine the root cause of the competition. It will assist you in determining the source of your feelings of competition pressure. You may already have an idea of what you want to accomplish, such as winning a sporting event or becoming valedictorian. Nonetheless, consider why you want to achieve this goal. Among the possible motivations for wanting to compete are:
Material worth (getting a promotion means a raise at work)
Applause (teachers or parents will be happy for you if you get the highest score on an exam)
Preeminence (becoming valedictorian increases your chances of getting into a top college)
Respect (winning more games means your team can get a sports title)
A little competition can be motivating, but if you’re constantly striving for validation, attention, acceptance, or belonging, stress can have long-term health consequences on your body.
2. Recognize your disappointments and frustrations. If you want to deal with competition and the feelings that come with it, you should first figure out what kinds of stress you experience. Others may put pressure on you, or you may be too hard on yourself. When you are feeling the weight of competition, take a moment to pause and try to articulate your feelings with specific statements such as, “I’m disappointed that I didn’t win the game.”
“I’m annoyed that others keep getting promoted ahead of me at work.”
“I feel like I spend all of my time studying and still don’t get the best grades.”
3. Set your own objectives. You can’t get there if all of your friends are running for valedictorian. To deal with competition in a healthy way, it is critical to set goals that work for you and stick to them regardless of what happens to others. For example, you could set a personal goal of graduating with a grade point average of 3.8 or higher. If that means you’ll be valedictorian, that’s fantastic. However, if you achieve your goal, regardless of who is named valedictorian, you will feel successful.
Reframe the term “competition” to mean that you want to be better than you were the day before. This growth mindset focuses on developing your skills rather than seeking validation through the binary of success/failure.
4. You can expect to “win some, lose some.” You can’t expect to win every game, get the highest grade, or excel at work no matter how hard you work or practise. Dealing with competition entails cultivating a positive attitude toward both winning and losing. Be proud of your accomplishments, and don’t berate yourself if you don’t always come out on top. When you’re feeling down, remember your past successes and your positive desire to improve in the future.
There are methods for increasing your tolerance for both winning and losing. For example, try playing more low-stakes or cooperative games, such as non-competitive team sports or cooperative board games.
5. Concentrate on personal development. Keeping your long-term growth and overall sense of character in mind is essential when dealing with competition. Instead of saying you can’t do something because you aren’t immediately successful at it, put it into context.
For example, if you’re a great basketball player who wants to try soccer, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t win right away. Keep in mind that your long-term goal is to diversify your sports and become a better athlete overall.
Remember that learning your strengths and then building on those strengths can always be rewarding and keep you challenged.
6. Overcome your fear of competing. If the prospect of competing causes you anxiety, you may be suffering from competition anxiety. This is common before major competitive events such as games and exams. If you start to worry about your performance or ability to succeed before such an event, you can reduce your anxiety by listening to music that gets you pumped up and fired up.
Experiment with breathing exercises such as inhaling through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth.
Avoiding self-defeating or negative thoughts, such as “I’ll never be as good as John Doe.”
Encourage yourself by saying things like, “I’m getting a little better at this every day.”
7. Stressors must be managed. If you are stressed in a non-competitive aspect of your life, it can still affect your ability to perform in a game, at work, at school, and so on. These stressors may not always be under your control, such as when you or a member of your family becomes ill. You can manage stress and reduce its impact on performance by: Trying breathing exercises]
Muscle contraction and relaxation
Trying out different visualisation techniques
Mindfulness meditation techniques are being practised.
Using positive self-talk, such as “I can do this no matter what!”
8. Discover the advantages of healthy competition. If you are having difficulty dealing with any kind of competition, it can be beneficial to remind yourself of how it can benefit you. When competition is properly executed and managed, it can help you do things like:
Develop problem-solving skills
9. Recognize and avoid unhealthy competition. On the other hand, when the stress of competition becomes too great, it has a negative impact. When you participate in too many competitive activities, try to be the best at everything, or are overly pressured by external factors (coaches, parents, etc.), you may experience negative feelings such as:
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