Competition is a lot like stress – the words both have ugly connotations in our society today and have become, to many, unwelcome. But stress is not always a bad thing; in fact, many people are unaware that there are actually two types of stress: Eustress and Distress. Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to continue working. Stress can be a motivator and provide incentive to get the job done. This “good stress” is what defines eustress, and some people enjoy it. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be motivated, challenged and productive. The problems arise when this stress is no longer tolerable, and develops into distress.
Winning versus Excelling
Being competitive can be viewed similarly, inasmuch as you can choose to ‘compete to win’ or ‘compete to excel’. Competing to win means trying to dominate and outperform others, while competing to excel is about performing well and surpassing personal goals. Most people will agree that competing to excel is a healthier mentality.
According to Madison (2008) :
‘Healthy competition encourages everyone involved to push themselves harder than they would have without competition, and as a result they achieve more personal or professional growth whether they won or lost. Healthy competition expands the boundaries of what you believed was possible for you. And it encourages you to admit to others that you’re ambitious’. Whereas unhealthy competition is ‘where you hope others have limitations because you are afraid your limitations will cause you to lose unless they are somehow held back. Unhealthy competition is where you associate shame with losing rather than see your own nobility for trying’.
The distinction is obvious, competing to excel as opposed to competing to win, involves no fear of failure, no worry, and no mentioning of losing, and promotes positivity, growth and cultivates ambition.
Cultivating Healthy Competition:
In the spirit of ‘for better health, compete to excel’, here are some tips to help you achieve your best:
- Recognize: Recognizing your achievements and remind yourself how you benefitted by implementing your actions, such as “I was able to get to my yoga class because I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier this morning. “
- Mentor: Implement a mentorship program to allow yourself to learn from others in a constructive and supportive manner`, such as asking a successful friend or colleague for their assistance, particularly in areas you are interested in improving.
- Reward: Reward yourself for your achievements, no matter how small. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on your achievements and reward yourself with something you enjoy, to stay on track for your goals.
- Arrange: Arrange personal competitions to encourage yourself to compete with your own past, such as saying “I ran three kilometres last Monday, so I’ll try run four kilometres next Monday.”
Healthy Competition starts here! Sign up for the 2014 UBC Staff and Faculty Total Health Challenge March 31-April 25 2014. The Total Health Challenge 2014 is a fitness and nutrition challenge focused on improving your overall health. This opportunity offers an exciting, and competitive, means of taking control of your total health and wellbeing; and the option of participating on your own or with your colleagues!