How “Friendly Competition” Wreaks Havoc on Your Soul

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When we hear the term “friendly competition” or “competitive spirit” the term challenge comes to mind for many of us. We may think of accepting the challenge, but often, the “challenge” leaves us feeling like we have no choice but to accept its terms. This introduces conflict.

Conflict or chaos is the root of competition and challenge, so how can we truly have a “friendly” competition?

As an over-stressed society, why would we want to invite more chaos into our daily lives?

The spirit can be defined as the essence of, the soul, or manifested feeling. When combined with the word competitive, it produces chaos of the soul or the essence of conflict. We accept, all too willingly, in “friendly” spirit, competition; which is in conflict within our well-being- and a contradiction. No wonder there is a clear loser! I’d like to point out that there are no winners when we are in competition with one another. One may think, feel, and perceive themselves as the winner, but in truth, there can be no winner in conflict as its root is arrogance. Let me explain.

Action is energy. When we choose to enter into conflict we are inviting in more conflict. A close friend of mine sees competition as a pursuit of excellence. When I thought about this, I had to give the thought some merit, whereas, pushing ourselves in pursuit of improvement, excellence, and growth puts us in a state of forward momentum and energy- which many would agree is a good thing.

Where the problem comes in, is when we introduce another into our personal pursuit of excellence. We can push ourselves, but it is imperative to our well-being that we do not compare or measure ourselves against what others are or have. Why? Because it causes us to feel inadequate or just the opposite, it can cause us to believe we are better — but by whose standard?

The dictionary defines arrogance as having an attitude that you are better, smarter, or more important than another. The strength in arrogance is that it is an overbearing attitude. Regardless of the intention, when we believe we are the winner over someone else’s shortcomings, how can we truly be a winner?

Rather than focusing on competition, we need to be focusing on collaboration. Instead of a weight loss challenge where there is a clear winner and loser, why don’t we use our energy to support each other? When energy is combined, it has greater power. Look at major fundraising efforts, such as those accomplished through crowdsourcing or humanitarian efforts. In the business world we develop strategic plans that require the collaborative efforts of many to execute and reach a common goal. There is no room for self-serving efforts in collaboration- however, when we combine energies, everyone wins. The sum of many parts combined can go much farther than any individual effort. Instead of waging a bet against each other, let’s wage that together we can accomplish this.

Collaboration brings forth positive and productive energy. It helps us eliminate chaos and conflict from our lives. We cannot be happy and joyful while we are in a state of chaos and conflict. The two cannot co-exist. To become happier, joyful, and to welcome in a state of well-being, we must push conflict and all of its sources out. Because for every force, there is an equal and opposing force. Conflict will continue to try to push into your happy space. Therefore, we want to eliminate as many opportunities for conflict to enter into “possible”.

Conflict and chaos are addictive. I’m sure you know a drama queen or king. Drama, drama, drama; these people seem to feed off the energy of drama- the truth is, they do!

A chaotic energy state is so highly charged, that many become addicted to the mass chaos. They continually look for more energy to feed their chaotic energy supply. What happens when they come down off their high? They are in the misery of the negative chaotic state which is now sapped of all positive energy. What they don’t realize is that there is an equally charged positive state- joy! Joy does not leave you feeling drained like chaos- just the opposite, you feel energized. Positive energy has a positive effect. Negative has a negative effect.

So why don’t people flock to happy and instead choose chaos? In part, because of seemingly innocent terms like “friendly competition.” We have chosen to accept into our reality that there is something weird about being happy and joyful.

If you say, “I’m so excited, I feel really good about this opportunity. It’s the chance of a lifetime.” What is the response from Debbie Downer of Doubting Thomas? “Oh, you better watch out, I know someone that….,” followed by something from another person’s life experience that didn’t go so well (which has nothing to do with you, by the way).

The conditioning of the mind over our life introduces a pessimistic component where we feel we must introduce chaos to counter happy. Happy people are strange, right? Wrong.

What’s up with that guy? He’s always so happy! — like it’s a weird thing. Isn’t it strange how we do this?

Instead, let’s join him and collaborate on happy. We so easily choose competition against each other instead of working with one another toward a common goal- being happy, celebrating happy, and expanding that energy.

The reality is that we are all connected. Because of our connected energies, opposing forces are continually at work, pushing against us, in competition for our happy- and who wins in competition? Nobody.

The good news is, you can turn this around. Begin looking for ways to collaborate with others toward being happy. Have an enthusiastic attitude as you take on your day. By moving away from competition, you free yourself to seek opportunities to change the energy around you and to build collaboration toward the goal of mankind- personal happiness, joy, and a sense of well-being.

Are you seeking to find greater fulfillment from your life and work? Check out Dr. Church’s latest release, Allowing Inspired Transformation: 6 Steps to Defining Your Purpose for an Epic Effect



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Dr. Jolene Church, SCP, ICF-MCC

Dr. Jolene Church, SCP, ICF-MCC


Executive coach and workforce optimization consultant. Member of the Forbes Coaches Council. Best-selling author and speaker.