According to Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary, competition is the art of competing which is “to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective (as position, profit, or a price).” I am thankful that we live in a country with the freedom to compete because there is great value in competition, for both individuals and organizations. Three benefits come to mind.
- Prevents Complacency – To become complacent is to be self-satisfied. It is most likely to affect individuals and companies that have been successful. When complacency takes root, organizations stop growing. Those who realize that competition never stops will continually fight against complacency. Pat Riley said, “Complacency is the last hurdle standing between any team and its potential greatness. Winners vaccinate themselves against self-satisfaction by remembering that some rival is always planning smarter and working harder to overtake and unseat a winner (Riley, p. 157).”
- Forces a Focus on the Customer – After his playing days were over, one of the greatest NFL running backs of all time, Gale Sayers, started a computer business. Competition was fierce. Although Sayers name could get him in the door of potential customers, Sayers said he still had to come in “with good pricing, a good product, and good service. If I didn’t have that, than I was just like everybody else (Sayers, p. 115).”
- Encourages Excellence– At the very top of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is a block called Competitive Greatness which Wooden defined as “A real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required (Wooden, p. 52).” Notice Wooden said that those who embrace competition leads to the chance to be at their best.
Competition is one of life’s greatest blessings. Embrace it!
*Riley, Pat, (1993), The Winner Within
*Sayers, Gale, (2007), Sayers, My Life and Times
*Wooden, John, Jamison, Steve, (2005), Wooden On Leadership