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I began appreciating some level of competitiveness after years of disliking

Manish Kumar
5 min readFeb 10, 2024

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Since my early days, competitiveness has been an inherent part of my persona. This competitive spirit, in many respects, was a catalyst for the early success I enjoyed in my career. However, I became so engrossed in this competitive mindset that it began to induce anxiety. With the wisdom of hindsight, I now realize that even during my childhood, the anxiety I felt was a byproduct of my overly competitive nature, but at that time, I lacked the maturity to comprehend it.

This over-competitiveness began to take a toll on my health, not just mentally but physically as well. As this realization dawned on me, I initiated corrective measures. I cultivated a sense of contentment with what I had and embraced mindfulness practices to handle my competitive urges.

Recently, however, I noticed that I’ve developed an aversion to competitiveness. I find myself trying to suppress any competitive thoughts as soon as they surface. This is not a healthy response either, and it’s precisely this issue that I wish to address in this article.

This piece aims to explore the concept of maintaining a balanced approach to our competitive instincts. It delves into how we can channelize our competitive nature for optimal growth without compromising our mental health. I will approach this topic from the perspective of a monk, as I accord greater importance to mental tranquility than unending growth.

This article is particularly beneficial for those who perceive competition solely as a negative trait. Upon reading this, readers will gain a new understanding of the positive aspects of being competitive. They will learn how a controlled competitive spirit can be a powerful tool for personal growth and learning, provided it’s kept in check.

Personal Growth

Viewing competition as a pathway to personal growth rather than a quest to outperform others can be a beneficial trait. This perspective transforms competition into a tool for self-improvement, promoting development in areas such as health, wealth, and fitness. For instance, you could strive to improve your physical strength or financial stability, not with the intention of surpassing others but for your own well-being and satisfaction. This approach can lead to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.

Furthermore, a certain amount of competition among peers can also be positive. When this competition is harnessed properly, it can foster a collaborative environment where everyone is motivated to perform at their best, thereby elevating the entire group’s performance. The crucial aspect, however, is to focus on the process rather than the outcome. This outlook encourages a continual learning approach where the objective is to improve one’s skills and abilities without the stress of outdoing others.

Let’s illustrate this with another example. Imagine you’re in the corporate world. You might strive to create superior solutions to problems compared to your peers. However, the goal isn’t to secure a larger salary increase in the next review cycle. Instead, it’s to improve your problem-solving skills and make a more significant contribution to your team. This mindset can reduce the pressure often associated with competition, making the experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

Learning and Sharing

Competition can act as a powerful motivator for anyone, pushing them to expand their horizons, learn more, and deepen their understanding of various subjects. This drive to know more can lead to the acquisition of wisdom that has the potential to benefit not just the individual but also those around them.

This wisdom, born out of competition, can be shared with others, fostering a cycle of continuous learning and sharing. The knowledge gained is not hoarded but disseminated, enriching the collective knowledge of the community or group.

This approach encourages humility because the ultimate goal is not to outshine others or gain personal recognition. Instead, the focus shifts to contributing to a pool of shared knowledge that benefits all beings.

By placing the emphasis on collective betterment, competition becomes less about individual triumph and more about collective growth and enlightenment. It promotes a culture of shared wisdom, where each individual’s success contributes to the success of the whole.

Resilience and Adaptability

Competition, when viewed positively, can foster resilience and adaptability. Consider an athlete training for an important race. This individual may face numerous challenges, from rigorous training schedules to injuries or even personal issues. However, their competitive spirit motivates them to persevere. They adapt their training methods and overcome these obstacles, viewing every setback as an opportunity for learning and improvement.

Each injury they face teaches them a new way to train or a better method to care for their body. Personal issues, instead of deterring them, make them mentally stronger and help them focus better. This resilience and adaptability extend beyond the track and field, benefiting them in all areas of life.

Ultimately, it is their competitive nature that teaches them to face failures and setbacks with courage. It instills in them an adaptable mindset that is invaluable in life’s many races, leading to personal growth and a strong sense of resilience.

Final Thoughts

As an ayurvedic lifestyle practitioner, I hold a strong belief that balance plays a pivotal role in every aspect of our lives, and our inherent competitive nature is no exception to this. When we think about competition, it’s crucial to understand that it doesn’t need to be seen as a negative or destructive force. In fact, if we manage to align our competitive instincts with the core principles of mindfulness, compassion, and detachment, we can reshape this trait as a powerful driver for personal growth and wellness.

It’s all about how we channel our competitive energies. Instead of placing the emphasis on winning at all costs or seeking material gains, we can use our competitiveness to motivate ourselves to become the best possible versions of ourselves. By fostering a sense of detachment, we can learn to compete without becoming overly attached to the outcomes, which can often lead to stress and disappointment.

Although I enjoy sharing my experiences to help others going through similar phases of life, I primarily write about productivity and healthy lifestyles. If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, please follow and subscribe. If you find my content helpful, show your appreciation by giving me a clap. Your support encourages me to create more!

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Manish Kumar

Sharing wisdom on how to become best version of yourself. Topic includes physical/mental fitness and food habits. Reading, writing, meditating along the way!