Essay On Good And Bad Effects Of Competition

“Of all human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none is greater than that of competition” -Henry Clay

When most think of competition, they do not associate it with something that can be beneficial. We tend to think that competition of any kind is bad for us. However, there are many positive aspects to competition and by learning about them, you can best be ready to use those benefits to your advantage. This applies for business as well as in your personal life:

Keeps you alert
Without competition, you’d be on cruise control, with no worries in the world. This makes you vulnerable and prone for mistakes that can be costly. With competition around, you are more likely to keep your eyes open and capture every detail along the way so that you remain on top of your game. Competition makes you see things that you normally would not bother noticing.

Helps assess your strengths & weaknesses
Following up from my previous point, what you do notice is what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. With competition, you have a way to measure how well or how poorly you are doing. Knowing what you are good at and what you are not is extremely important, because success is all about accentuating your strengths and hiding your weaknesses. How well you accomplish this determines how far you go.

Makes you creative
Without competition, we’d probably still be in the stone age. Look around you, everything you see is a by-product of some kind of competition. Look at how far humanity has come. Whether it’s about business or your personal life, creativity brings about the best in all of us. Without competition, we would end up settling for far less than what we are truly capable of.

Helps to manage success & failure
Of course, with any competing environment, you will suffer setbacks along with successes. How you cope with either one truly defines and shapes your character. If everything was always going our way, what lesson would we ever learn? Plus, life would get pretty boring very quickly! Competition forces us to deal with both sides of the coin, and this is why sports are a great learning experience for kids growing up. It helps them deal with winning and losing and how they react to it, which is a crucial skill to possess as you manage your life in adulthood.

Increases your quality
Whether it’s a product or a service a business puts out there, or how you present yourself personally, competition forces you to increase your quality. Improving and moving forward is part of evolution, and competition makes sure that you bring your A game at all times. The better you get, the more appreciation you will find around you, which is the one constant we all seek: acceptance.

Makes you persevere
When you look at someone ahead of you and you do whatever it takes to catch up to them…that is the essence of perseverance. You don’t give up until you are at the top. Without competition, we would have no reason to persevere. We wouldn’t know our limits and how far we can stretch them. The rewards of perseverance are priceless and to experience such rewards, you need a reason, and competition is that reason.

Long term planning
As you persevere, you are obligated to plan ahead. You have to have a direction and a goal. Without competition, you wouldn’t know where the finish line is. How would you get there then? Having a clear and concise “map” of what you need to do to get to the point that you want to be at, is necessary if you ever want to accomplish anything in your life. Competing pushes you to have a plan to carry out, because that is the only way you can truly be in the game and have a chance at winning 😉

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The Invidious Nature of Competition

Donald Kovis

Since the dawn of mankind, humans have been competing with each other over things such as food, resources, and mates. Often, this competitive drive built into us has caused humans to go to war with one another—killing each other in the process. In the modern era, competition has been significantly tempered in its lethality. Rarely does a conflict arise between two people where the end result is a dead body lying on the ground.

However, competition still has the ability to bring about the worst behavior in many of us. Instances of violence springing forth from trivial rivalries are splashed across newspapers and television nowadays. Indeed, bad behavior resulting from competition seems to be commonplace in today’s society. Given that most Western societies thrive off of the competitive spirit found within their populations, it isn't that surprising that some people might go overboard with its application. But while some people state that competition can only have a positive impact on our societies, I believe that the negative aspects resulting from the bad behavior due to competitiveness probably outweigh any good that can be created from competition, given the way it is pushed in today's world.

One of the most obvious negative consequences of the competitive drive is the creation of a loser. In fierce competition, an individual who doesn’t measure up to the other competitors can, in the name of competition, be labeled as a “loser.” While in the strictest definition of the term this title would apply, there is a certain stigma associated with the word "loser." Due to the bad behavior that is often created from competition, other competitors might begin to taunt and tease the loser. Often, this mocking can become quite vicious, ending in a physical confrontation. Looking back on my high school days, I recall several instances of students getting beat up after class because during physical education they fumbled a football or failed to catch a baseball. Often the effects of a simple mistake out on the field were inconsequential to the outcome of whatever game was being played, but to the other players involved, this mistake was considered more of a sin, a sin that marked them as much as it did the one who committed it. Thus, this justified retribution upon the "sinner." This kind of bad behavior can be very detrimental to society as a whole, creating a class of winners and a class of losers, forever separate from each other.

Another negative result from harsh competition is the “anything to win” mentality. Some people have a complete obsession with winning, occupying every moment of their existence. People such as Donald Trump and Bill Gates exemplify this phenomenon. These two people have clawed their way to the top, hurting many other people who were in their way. In order to get further ahead, they have lied, cheated, and wounded countless rival individuals and companies, all in the name of their greed and desire. They justify this by saying that it is a “dog-eat-dog” world out there, and those who do not play the game will be removed from the sport. While this attitude does have some redeemable qualities, such as the ability to acquire wealth and take care of one’s self, it also fosters a socio-pathological attitude towards others. People with this mindset see other people as objects to be used, without giving regard to their feelings and emotions. Sociopaths created due to the competitive spirit of a society are against the best interests of any civilization.

Possibly the most detrimental outcome of over-amped competition is the creation of bitter enemies. As was stated before, sometimes competition between rival sides or individuals can become pathological. Perhaps one team has dealt an overwhelming defeat to another team, emasculating them in the process. Looking like fools in the faces of their peers, this humiliated team wishes to strike back. This tit-for-tat type of rivalry can easily escalate out of control. For instance, in sports this enmity has led to the theft of the opposing team’s mascot, to the destruction of the opposing team’s property, and to physical altercations with members of the opposing team. A good example of this happened at my high school. In the last football game of my first year in high school, one of the offensive linemen from the other team came too close to the bench, where our offensive line were sitting. One of the guys sitting on the bench stood up and slugged the opposing player with brass knuckles, sending him to the hospital. When asked why he did it, the attacker stated that he didn’t know why he did it. At that moment, he just hated his opponent. After considerable contemplation, I believe it was done in the heat of the moment. These two teams had been rivals for a long time, and due to the fierce competition, the desire to strike out against a bitter enemy became too great to control. This kind of bad behavior is repeated in many other ways in our society, often resulting in the violent actions that lead to arrests and convictions in our courtrooms. Obviously, this has a negative impact on our society.

Competition is a natural aspect of human behavior. It helps humanity survive in a relatively cruel world. Competition is responsible for pushing innovation in the fields of philosophy, science, and religion. Without competition, we would be diminished as a species. However, when competition’s more negative aspects are ignored, the outcomes will invariably be disastrous. Numerous wars and conflicts can be traced back to expressions of bad feelings brought about by pointless competition, and uncounted tragedies have occurred on the individual level due to bruised egos and damaged pride. In my opinion, structure is the key here. Structure can provide a line in the sand to prevent displays of ego, superiority, or nationalism from becoming excuses to act inappropriately. Structure can also allow for civility to persist between rivals after a competition takes place. Competition needs to be well structured and regulated to ensure the safety of people, and society as a whole.


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