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A Competitive Edge—Do You Have It? Do You Want it?


The other day I was watching the Today Show and they were discussing a story about making “Field Day” less competitive. Field Day was always supposed to be fun and not competitive in the way organized sports is competitive. Willie Geist made a statement stating that he is competitive and always has been. He went on to indicate that Natalie Morales was also competitive and she agreed, and then he said “well everyone is competitive” and Al Roker piped in quickly “ Not everyone is competitive” and the discussion continued on about the Field Day story. But this got me thinking—what does it mean to be competitive? And like Al said not everyone is competitive. And is good to be competitive? And in particular, is it a good quality to have in life? And will it get you ahead at work?

I do not consider myself competitive and I never have. As a kid I did not have that winning at all costs mentality, or winning really. I think I never thought about winning at games or sports, because I never thought I would win. As a child and teenager I was not in to organized sports and I also did engage in any individual focused sports either. This was partly because our family could not afford these types of lessons. And partly because I suffered an extreme illness which left me fairly frail. I was also not the most physically coordinated. My sister and I did not take any type of lessons: no dance or ballet lessons, no gymnastics, no sports or art lessons. Though my sister did try out for, and was on the cheerleading team for about a year. We grew up in a very strict, authoritarian home—our father ruled the roost with an iron fist and we were kept on very short leashes. We were more or less terrified of our farther and it seemed much of our childhood energy was spent on not stepping out of line. So I have often wondered if a person’s upbringing influences how competitive they are later in life. And how much of a competitive nature is an innate quality a person is born with or is it a quality that is  learned? I think it is a bit of both.

I do think some people are born with a more competitive nature and as Al stated not everyone has a strong competitive nature and not everyone feels the need to “be competitive”.  That said, it does seem that a healthy competitive edge does help in the work place. I am not saying I necessarily  agree with this, and I am not saying that one should step on their fellow coworkers to get ahead, but it does seem that in our society we do foster this kind of spirit. Do agree you with this? Or is a healthy competitive edge just another way of saying that a person has good self esteem? Do you think that being too competitive can be disruptive in the work place? Do you like being competitive or do you prefer being part of a team? And do you think competitive people get further in life? Are you the tortoise or the hare? I do not believe that one has to have a strong competitive personality to get ahead, though in most cases it does not hurt. I personally believe that having good self esteem and feeling confident and deserving is key in getting ahead in life. Though there is a fine line between feeling deserving and feeling entitled, but that is a discussion for another day.

Image via http://nofatnowhip.com/post/57629509756


  1. Admittedly, I am naturally competitive. Actually, I am VERY competitive. I always won at sports, simply because of my desire to win. (I did so with good integrity— no cheating etc!)

    However as an adult I have mellowed out some, and while I still want to win, I am also able to lose gracefully now.
    And in my opinion that is what is crucial in being competitive— yes, have the drive to win! But not at the cost of other or of your own character.

  2. I’m one of those people none competitive I never was.

  3. so interesting. i don’t think i am competitive and some folks have always told me i needed to be. it was a personality that made others stand out. i never understood this. at one point at work there was a girl who was super competitive and the entire workplace just stunk big time. i’m more along the lines of promoting team and self at the same time but not competition. i think people can be driven to do better and bigger by different means other than competitiveness. i may look at being competitive too much in the negative light but i don’t think i have ever seen it used positively. and a note about field days – really? i remember field days used to be fun and not at all competitive. i really wonder what kind of environment kids grow up these days. it seems so different than how i grew up!

  4. I definitely have a competitive streak that comes out at certain times. I think having one can really serve to drive and motivate you as long as you don’t let it take over and it’s always healthier to compete with yourself than others.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  5. I’m a little competitive. Not to the point where I always have to win, but winning is always a good feeling. I remember in high school, in P.E. I was pretty much always on the winning team. I think that was because I was almost always the team captain. And I would be able to pick the players for my team.

  6. I wouldn’t consider myself a competitive person, but I am driven. I saw a quote recently that said “Look in the mirror; there’s your only competition,” and it really resonated. Obviously if you play sports it’s a different story, but as far as the workplace I don’t think we have to necessarily compete with others to get ahead; we should just try to be the best US we can be, if that makes sense.

  7. I’m not competitive at all. LOL I find it leads to backstabbing. If you do a good job, your work will speak for itself and you will get ahead. Constantly watching what others are doing is not good. Concentrate on what you have to do and do it well.

  8. Great post! A competitive edge is definitely an important thing to have. I’m not incredibly competitive but at certain times some edge can really come in handy!

  9. Everyone should have one! Great post Allie!

  10. Neither do i take any lessons,it is not because i do not wanna take lessons,it is bcz my family is poor,but turns to the subject of competitive nature,i do believe everyone has its own competitive nature which we people usually label it as talent? I think everyone was born to do something.that is our competitive nature drives natually us where we are and who we are.For me,a title on fashion industry

    Royal Wang,stay in touch

  11. My sister and I were also brought up in a pretty strict way. Asian parents aren’t the most easy-going you know? I’m kind of like you in a way. Not too competitive as I didn’t have the urge to be competitive. I’m pretty happy with things that are given to me in life. If life is good, be thankful. When times are bad, work hard and smart to make things better. On the other hand, my sister is different when it comes to the things that she strives for such as education. She loves to read since a young age and she’s always competitive when it comes to school grades. That kind of put my mom and dad in a situation where they make me feel like I should be like her instead. Pretty stressful as a kid for me. LOL! When we were in college, my dad kind of changed 180 degrees! He became so easy going. I guess he just wanted us to grow up well-mannered and disciplined. Till today, my sister and I are still the same. She tends to be more competitive in work and I’m like, do whatever I can. At least I know I tried my best =)

  12. I don’t think a competitive spirit is bad unless it goes unchecked. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win, but when winning becomes everything to you, that is when it becomes a problem. I think you are right that good self-esteem is the answer to getting ahead not how competitive you are.

  13. I am not either very competitive but in the photograph field you have to be. I still have a lot to learn and it is hard for me but it is something I must do to make it

  14. Hi Allie! Hope you are well. Honestly I’m scared off by competitivity. I work hard towards a goal and try not to feel diminished by others’ superiority 🙂
    Coco et La vie en rose / Bloglovin / Facebook
    International giveaway: win a sparkle made in Italy

  15. This is a really interesting and well written post and definitely food for thought! Personally, I don’t believe that I’m an incredibly competitive person against other people as it can often promote accidentally shooting yourself in the foot! However, if there is such a thing as being competitive against yourself (ambition?).. that’s me in a nutshell! Thanks for the great post!



  16. I think that education and home are important and always a little determines who we are in adulthood.

  17. I really really love your blog, the design and your approach to life and things, the way you blog. Can tell that you are quite a laid back sort of person (hence the less competitiveness in you, perhaps your strict upbringing did contribute to that?). I feel a little bit of everything in balance is a good thing. Too competitive brings “harm” to yourself and others, on the other end of the scale, lack of it seems not pushing yourself hard enough to excel and be your best. So, I guess, it is all personal and depends on what you want out of your work place, and life in general.

    I don’t think I am a very competitive person in nature, but I do push myself to give the best I can, in whatever I do. As long as you are happy with the results, how others viewed us would perhaps be secondary already *_^

    By the way, LOVE LOVE LOVE the black and white picture!

  18. absolutely not competitive. could care less if i “win” unless it’s trivia 😉

  19. I’m not really sure if I’m competitive, maybe I do when I really want to be good in something, but for the rest… I’m not really sure. xD

  20. I think it’s good to be a little competitive but when your too obsessed with winning it can be your downfall. Why? Because you’re never going to “win” at everything. I use to know someone who assumed he would. And let’s just say he didn’t have a lot of self confidence because every time he lost he saw himself as a “failure” rather than learning the lesson life was trying to teach him.
    Great post Allie, I really enjoyed learning a little bit more about your childhood and point of view on this topic <3 Definitely a good read!

    –  ßerry ♥ Stylish  

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