Competition – Good or Bad?

Part of ‘It’s Time…’ Corporate Wellness Series

In the work environment, the cocktail of competition, jealousy, fear and ambition can create a lethal explosive that can lead not only to conflict and loss of one’s job, but to dissatisfaction, overload, self-hatred and depression.

Unfortunately we have flawed views about competition.  Some believe it creates a healthy stress, is a natural result of ambition and is absolutely necessary for achievement, whilst others deem it deadly and toxic.  Competition is not necessarily unhealthy, it can indeed can be motivational, and an impulse for our growth and development.  It is good to have a certain amount of healthy competition in order to extend our limits and expand the wings of personal experience.

It is the unhealthy type of competitive jealousy that we are concerned about here where intentions are fueled with tooth and nail rivalry and enmity.

If one is in competition with another it is because that one is in the pursuit of the same things as the other, for example an engineer is unlikely to be jealous of a doctor.  There may be fear amongst people who have a have a common objective that the other may out-win or have one-upmanship over the other.  It is the fear of losing out while the ‘winner takes all’ that gives birth to jealousy.

Jealousy is that uneasy, uncomfortable feeling of being of less value – usually derived from a feeling of low self worth.  Thoughts creep in as to why the other might be chosen over me, and I get busy in trying to put the other down and highlighting my own accomplishments.  A boss may even be jealous of a subordinate who looks too promising, and try to thwart his or her ambitions.  A colleague may be jealous of someone else’s ability to get along well with others, and try to sabotage their relationships.  All in all, jealousy is a highly toxic and self-defeating companion.

We may all have been guilty of this negative trait at some point in our life, yet it is those who try to understand it and its devious ways that fare better in life than those who hate and become full of bitter envy.

Ambition can be a great motivator, but a person who is full of jealousy is on a path to self-destruction.  They are always measuring themselves against others and usually feel that they come off worst.  They will never be satisfied or happy or create good relationships because they will perceive everyone as a threat.  Or they will attempt to railroad others into submission.  They will be isolated from the very happiness that they were hoping their success would bring.

Jealousy is like a prison of our own making, and fierce competition with others is like putting ourselves in solitary confinement.  If we really want to thrive in the workplace, co-operation rather than competition is actually the best, the most efficient and most productive approach.

Self-respect is the key to taming these twin demons of unhealthy competition and jealousy.  When one feels satisfied within oneself, it is still possible to achieve more and to attain goals, but instead the motivation is of wanting to better the self, not wishing to obliterate others!

Instead of feeling jealous or disappointed because someone has gained the promotion that you wanted, try feeling happy for them.  This may seem like a strange alternative approach, but think of how different the atmosphere would be at work if each one was encouraged to encourage and support each other.  In fact each one’s success would be the success of the other, the collective and heightened success of the team would reflect the success of the individual.  The boss would also shine in the light of his team’s success.

And no doubt some will be thinking… ‘well why should I do that, when no-one else will, I will be the loser’.  However taking the initiative for self-responsibility will bring its own rewards.  The law of karma tells us that each one will get what he or she deserves at the end of the day, so our time is much better spent by putting away the knives and working on our own self-improvement. 

It’s Time… to let go of jealousy and unhealthy competition.  Learn to be collaborative and not competitive.  Take responsibility for your feelings and allow the law of karma to do its work.



Share these thoughts!  ‘It’s Time…’ is spreading far and wide! Feel free to forward this wisdom, but to avoid any karmic rebound, please acknowledge its source –
‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London




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