Handling competition is a tough challenge. It can keep us awake at nights, creep into our mind even in our private moments, and if it goes too far, it can take a toll on both our physical and mental well being. Yet, we have to face it every day. Whether we are chasing a sales target at work or playing a sport with our friends, competition is what keeps us going in the face of discomfort and stress.
Yet, given a chance, many of us tend to avoid competition in most situations. We view competition a contest where we need to constantly fight for winning against somebody. And we all know what feelings follow along: self-doubt, fear of failure, and other series of emotions that stop us from confronting it in the first place.
However, how can we defuse this anxiety associated with the competition? How to feel confident when facing competition? If you define competition from a broader perspective, competition is an activity that helps us become better at what we do and what we become through the process. And it isn’t just about winning.
The first step to redefining competition is by understanding your real opponent. The real opponent in any competition is you. Be it at work or any other day-to-day interactions, you are the one stopping yourself from getting better at your activities: The incessant thought chatter that pulls you down is what you have to fight against relentlessly.
Realizing this truth not only eases your anxiety but also gives the hope that you can change things for better.
Start Small, Don’t Compare
Once you have realized that you are the real opponent, the next step is equipping yourself with the skill sets you need to confront competition without fear. However, at this point, you should not start comparing yourself with your peers. Comparing yourself with someone who is far ahead of you can only disappoint you. So, instead of comparing, observe how far you have come in your journey. Reward yourself for the improvements you have made and keep the focus on improving your skill sets every day.
Build Your Better Version
A few months into the process, you will understand a lot about you. You will understand that the prejudices you had about yourself were your limitations, and you can change yourself for better.
By being aware of your shortcomings and overcoming them with knowledge and persistence, you will realize your true potential. While it builds self-esteem and confidence that you need to thrive in the field you have chosen to, it also wakes you up to the fact that we all have immense potential within us.
Time for Competition
After building a better version of yourself, you can now take some real-life challenges where other people are also involved. This time, as you have mastered yourself, overcome your weakness, won against your incessant negative thought chatters, you will feel confident and competent.
Since you have already won against yourself, you will be all set to demonstrate your skills to the world and win the marathon for life.
Don’t stop there
Overcoming weakness, improving your skill sets, and facing competition is a daily process. And it doesn’t have an end. The earlier you realize this truth, the brighter your life will be.
As stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” This is really true in the context of competition. You often become the impediment to your success and growth, and once you have realized and overcome that, nothing can bring you down, ever.