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.
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