It’s one thing to have some fun with competition, but when does it go a little too far?
Everyone wants a competitive person on their team until they realize what it actually means to have a competitive person on their team.
Not everyone handles losing as well as others, but some people can’t handle it at all. Competitive people don’t just dislike losing, they detest it… it makes their skin crawl. They live to win, and any opportunity is a good enough reason to go full throttle.
Maybe you take it a little too far, but you always get the job done and that’s what matters, right?
15 Signs of a Competitive Person
- You were always top of the class, even when you hated the subject.
- You hate losing, and are constantly called ‘spoiled sport’ or ‘sore loser’.
- You hate teamwork, it just drags you down.
- You won’t get involved in something you’re not good at, because what’s the point if you can’t win?
- You always like to be slightly ahead, whether it’s the first to the lift or the first through the door, you have to cross the ‘finish line’ first.
- Other people’s success spurs you to work even harder because you have to achieve the same.
- Failure is your biggest motivation to change because you’d be damned to let yourself lose twice. If it’s not working… fix it!
- You constantly compare yourself to others, because you want to know what they’re doing better than you.
- You create secret competitions in your head and win them.
- Giving presents is something you can win, and you always do.
- You’ve lost friends because no one understands how serious you are.
- You intimidate people, with your pure talent, of course.
- No one wants to be on your team, because you yell like a helicopter parent when others don’t perform to your standard.
- No one wants to be on the opposite team, because… well… you’re intimidating.
- You’ll do whatever it takes to win, bending the rules just enough without breaking them.
There’s nothing wrong with having a competitive personality, but it’s important to channel it the right way. Letting your competitiveness take control can leave you missing out on some of the best of what life has to offer.
Allowing your competitiveness to rule your life can lead to some very toxic traits, which can leave others feeling jaded, and you feel isolated.
Toxic Traits of a Competitive Personality
Refusing to Try New Things
Competitive people have a tendency not to try new things because they won’t be the best at it right away. They tend to stay in their little bubble of high performance and daren’t venture out of it.
It feels like torture to think of starting something new and having to admit you’re not in the first place. When you do try something new and the reality of not being the best settles in, you find your confidence falling through the floor.
Letting your competitive personality win like this only means that you miss out. You won’t have new experiences, visit new places, or enjoy new things.
Quitting at the First Road Bump
Not being the best at something is not a good enough reason to quit. But if you have a competitive personality, it’s likely that you’ve quit something just because you weren’t winning. The pressure of not being the best but feeling like you have to be is enough to make you quit.
The plain truth is that no one is good at something when they start out. The whole point of being an expert is that you’ve had tons of time and practice. You have to look at the end goal and make a plan to get there. By quitting, you don’t let yourself reach that better version of yourself.
It’s natural for relationships to come and go, but a competitive personality can actively push people away and leave you isolated.
When a competitive person really gets into it, there are constant comparisons with friends and loved ones. Upon winning, the ‘sore loser’ really comes out, and rubs their success in everyone’s faces, often longer than necessary.
That behavior can get real toxic real fast, and you may find yourself not being invited to things. Relationships will begin to break down because no one enjoys their self-esteem being dampened as much as you enjoy rubbing your win in their face.
Be conscious of the effect your actions have on others, and try to own your success without making it everyone else’s problem.
When everything turns into a competition, people can get frustrated and tend to turn away from the person they feel to be the issue. However, there are ways to use that competitive nature in the right way.
Being competitive can make you more successful, and open to the creativity and innovation to pursue great things in any career. With a little time and some mindful work, you can use your competitive superpower for good, instead of evil.
How to Channel a Competitive Personality
Compete Against Yourself
Since you’re the best at everything, there is no one better to compete against but yourself. Channeling your competitive energy inward can be incredibly rewarding and push you to improve things you were already great at.
Set personal bests, bet against yourself, and make little changes to see how they affect your performance. You might even find that there are even better ways of doing the things you thought you’d mastered (and you didn’t know it all, after all!)
Not only will this make you better at work, in school, or at your favorite hobby, it will make you more pleasant to be around.
Stop Seeing Success as a Limited Resource
One of the worst parts about competitive behavior is that you look at every situation as though there is only one gold medal, and it has to be yours. The real world doesn’t operate that way. Career progression doesn’t happen in a linear way, and there are always opportunities for promotion.
By training yourself out of the belief that there is only so much success in the world allows you to celebrate the success of others without feeling jealous. Trust me, your friends and family will appreciate you building them up instead of envying their achievements.
When success stops being a limited resource, you will start to realize how valuable your knowledge is to others. You can build up those around you by devoting time to assisting them with their struggles and what they find difficult.
You’d be surprised how much people are willing to listen to you when you let go of your competitive energy. Open yourself up to others and support their efforts to advance and improve, start mentoring or even just ask a coworker if they need any help every now and then.
Having a competitive spirit is not a bad thing. Utilized properly, you can do great things with it. Competitive people can be great innovators because they’re willing to change and adjust to make things better. They make great teachers because they already know how to do well at something, and they are incredibly hard-working.
With some conscious effort, you can channel your competitive energy to serve your best, and help others along the way.
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