Sometimes I forget that in this world, competition is now the norm. It’s hard not to let it take over at times, especially when you’re starting something new. It’s so easy to compare your efforts to another’s and get angry or disappointed with yourself as a result. But we shouldn’t do that, and here’s why.
More often than I’d like now, I come across people who thrive off competition. Those who need to be winners at everything they do – be the best, fuck the rest types. Loud and proud, large and in charge.
You know what though? Those guys are dicks.
I’ve never been a competitive type, at least not externally. Internally, I want nothing more than just once to be at the top of my game. I’d love to be at the top of my field, even if only for a little while. That’s not something I’d say out loud, but I think many others would admit to as well. Might be in the sport I play (doubtful), maybe in my work (again, doubtful) – but it’s a hidden driver of mine to do really, really well at something.
Problem is though, I’ve realised that in today’s society, it’s not enough to just try hard, or have a skill or talent. You’ve also got to be a shark about it. A total and utter predator. In short, you’ve got to be a competitor.
Competitors use tactics. They’re gameplayers. They snoop and they make digs. They resort to tricks and whisper campaigns. They canvas and cajole others into getting behind them. They do whatever they have to in order to win at whatever they’re doing. Whatever they have to do. Someone I know from reality recently admitted to physically blocking the doorway of a woman he was trying to do business with. She wasn’t interested in his offer. He wasn’t taking no for an answer. Without context, those two sentences are fucking horrifying together. When prefaced with the notion of doing what it takes to become a successful business owner, many would praise him for his dogged determination.
I wouldn’t. I’d call him an arrogant little pissweasel. But then again, I’m nowhere near as successful as he is…and probably never will be.
Success now appears synonymous with competitiveness. Has it always been this way? In order to become a winner in my chosen field, do I have to resort to competitive tactics? “You’ve got to do whatever it takes to make yourself stand out” is what I hear so often. Why are the arseholes the ones that stand out? Why do we reward bullish behaviour and loud, self-involved twattery?
Mistakenly, we tell ourselves that effort alone will reap the rewards we crave. Keep your head down, stay motivated, work hard. And yet time and again we see others appear to succeed, win prizes, be given recognition and praise – where it really feels undeserved. Is it possible to be the best at something without being a bellend? Probably…but I’d bet it’s a hell of a lot harder.
Maybe I’ll never be one of life’s winners. But I’ll also never be a competitor.