Most people were raised to be competitive. School, work and even family instills the competitive spirit in us. We want to outdo our “so called” peers. As it turns out, we really don’t have mates or peers so it’s impossible to compete fairly. This makes competition a cancer that eats the dreams of those who empower it. 

Two people can’t really compete because for competition to be fair, two people must have the same talents, resources, motivation, exposure and the likes. This is never the case even for identical twin children. It’s important for us to judge our progress by the goals we set, not the progress of others. We must set audacious goals; big hairy audacious goals and we must work hard to achieve these achievable but audacious goals. Our goals should be the only measure of our success, we must never be distracted by the results others produce. 

A sales team may plan to recruit 10,000 new customers, if they achieve 7,000 and other teams achieve 2,000. They will be wrong to feel successful because they out did others. The real question is ‘did they achieve their goal?’. In other situations, they may achieve 10,000 and others do 87,000 and they begin to feel small and unsuccessful. They achieved their set goal and that’s the definition of success. Other people’s success lets us know what’s possible, not necessarily what we must achieve. Even when we know what’s possible, we have to be clear on why we want to pursue it and if we have the resources and heart to go for it. 

We are gifted differently. We do ourselves a disservice when we choose to compete. We are unique. We are different and like Olakunle Soriyan said, we are rewarded for our differences not our similarities. Competition is bad even in competitive sports. You are more likely to have a healthy mind if you focus on running your 100meter race in record time than if you focus on outrunning your fellow athlete. You may ask how, how can victory be sure if I don’t try to outrun everyone else? The record is 9.58 seconds. Attempt to run for 9.50seconds in practice and you won’t be competing against others but you will be trying to achieve your own set goal and this will guarantee you a medal.

Written by Smart Emmanuel. Emmanuel is Africa’s leading sales growth and product development strategist. He is the CEO of The Stralution Company Limited, a sales growth and product development strategy firm; connect with him on Instagram here

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