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The Role Of Competitive Spirit In Our Lives

Being competitive is rarely being portrayed as a personality attribute that is negatively impacting our mind and body. Being competitive helps us in chasing our dreams and in becoming our true selves. Whether it’s a sport, a job/career or a kid’s game, we all wish to win. It is in human nature to win, which in result gives a great pleasure. Craving to win or to continuously be the best is a very strong motive whether we know it consciously or not. Everyone’s competitiveness differs in intensity level. People that are decidedly competitive will not stop persisting until they reach their desired goal, accomplish their desires. Competitors will acknowledge the best from the best in any surrounding in which they are set and try to surpass those. Besides being helpful in getting to a wanted goal, it enhances confidence, perseverance and will. So, if the competitive spirit thrives people to be better day by day and sets them up to succeed despite the obstacles, why is it bad to be excessively competitive?

Whenever we win in some activity, our brain triggers and releases testosterone and dopamine, which activate feelings of pleasure and euphoria, and control prize-inspiration behavior. So, victory brings a good feeling and pleasure. Once we get the taste of victory, we permanently want to win again and feel good. From individualistic perspective, the importance is on accomplishing everything ourselves and showing it through our victories. Competitive people are comparing themselves to others, mostly with the image of the ideals presented to by the media, and there is a huge sense of shame. At the heart of this feeling of shame lies the belief that others will be judging us as inferior and unsuitable because we have not reached certain standards of society. Men and women have an equally prominent competitive spirit. Consequently, the first and the most obvious downside of being competitive is that competitive people do not know how to handle defeat. For example, children at young age start experiencing competitive behavior through sports, videogames and others. They start playing seriously to win, no matter what little, dirty tricks they need to achieve it. If their competitive spirit is strong and they do not end up being first, they often start crying.

Similarly, competitive spirit is heavily expressed at more mature age such as teens and even adults. Even the second place at some tournament could lead to a problem for a heavy competitor. Furthermore, those people who cannot handle defeat or not being the best tend to build frustration and aggression at a quick rate. Being unable to accept the defeat, learn the lesson and be motivated for next challenge, builds up aggression that could cause physical or emotional harm to others, ranging from verbal abuse to physical. People who do not know how to accept the defeat will often conveniently start blaming others, start breaking surrounding things, act childish or even pick a fight with their competitors. Apart from the fact that aggressiveness can lead an intense competitor to a physical attack on contestants or on themselves, aggression can also increase the level of stress. If the stress response continues firing daily, it may perhaps become seriously risky for the health, causing headache, insomnia and high blood pressure. Also, people with intense levels of aggression and stress are at increased risk of a heart stroke because of thickening of the neck arteries. In addition to causing bad health, being too competitive could also get one labeled as a self-absorbed and conceited. This may cause difficulties in society, where people tend to avoid hanging out with people with those personality traits.

Besides, if our only goal is to be better than others, we will quickly stay alone without anyone to support us. Additionally, competitors tend to ignore their value system with perceiving almost every situation as a challenge. This could sometimes be bad, as competitive people will compete purely for the sake of competition rather than valuing what they do. Is it always necessary to be better than others or should it be done because of the satisfaction and care? If most of the life is based on competitiveness, whether being competitive at work, in sports with friends and other, at some point someone else is going to be better and take the win. It is important to balance competitive traits, accept the defeat and learn from it. Being able to accept the defeat and not to let the competitive nature to take over is a power that not many people have. Positive mindset and acceptance of end results are more pleasing than staying isolated in the constant conquest to be the best.

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