Why I don’t believe in competition

                                                                                                            Getty images

That almost sounds Un-American doesn’t it? I feel like with each passing decade Americans increasingly worship at the altar of Capitalism, but that might be a topic for another article. What I really mean is that I don’t like to view others as competition, especially other women. Now I realize that certain people thrive on this and it is the stuff the makes up Gold Medal dreams but I don’t think that viewing other people or businesses as your competition promotes good health. I imagine if you are a man you might stop reading right here. Hang tight.

Here is the dictionary definition of competition

  1. the act of competing; rivalry, a prize etc: The competition between the two teams was bitter.

Bitter, viewing someone as a rival. I know you might not think that being competitive leads you down a path of negative emotions but I think the battle mindset is not a healthy one.

Have you ever met someone who completely lacked empathy and understanding? It is always a little shocking in a Leona Helmsley sort of way. They never put the shoe on the other foot. They are happy when their rival catches a bad break. Witnessing failure of their “competition” brings them satisfaction. Satisfaction at the misfortune, bad business, bad timing of someone else. I don’t believe that you should ever stop empathizing with the human beings behind the business, behind the parenting, etc.

A competitive mindset can also have adverse effects on your own self esteem. When we view someone with an opposing eye and they seem to be succeeding more than us, we can take it two ways. 1.We can feel bad about our own efforts 2. We can nit pick them to death in attempts to feel better and more superior to them.

Either way, it is unhealthy for your brain and a bit juvenile.

Lastly, a concept that I am personally am trying to grasp is that when you view others as  your competition it often comes from a “place of lack.” This is something that I knew deep down inside but wasn’t necessarily putting into practice.

Example: Remember that cute boy in High School that you were just pining away for? Remember the seemingly perfect girl you viewed as your competition to get said boy? Remember all those negative thoughts and dirty looks your sent her way? Oyi! The hours you spent viewing her as your competition! Wasted time, wasted energy on negative emotions.

Guest what? Turns out he was not the only cute boy on the planet, in fact, he wasn’t even close!

Now guess what, there is not only one customer for your services or in need of your product. There are plenty of customers to go around. Let me repeat: Lots of people on the planet, plenty of customers. The universe is big. God is big and He can handle getting you everything that you need. Is it sinking in?

If you aren’t buying the universe and God idea, I can go all “science” on you. Studies have proven that sending a customer to perceived “competition” inspires loyalty and has big monetary rewards. Why don’t we do that if we KNOW we are going to be rewarded for it? Don’t stay in the Land of Lack.

Lifting people up is the business that I want to be in. I don’t want to relish in the hard times of others. I don’t want to see them go out of business, be crushed. I would much rather help, praise and compliment people because it means my heart stays in the right place on a daily basis. We are genuinely all in this together. Life is tough enough. We don’t need to willingly cultivate an emotion that doesn’t always produce healthy results.

People, your customers, your family can sense your openness and ease and are drawn to you as a result. That is the best pay off.

  • Perfectly put, Monica! I really agree with you on all of it. Being in the Land of Lack is debilitating to the soul and to one’s productivity. I think we, as artists, thrive on supporting each other. I know my work and business have grown tremendously since I found my tribe on Twitter. That added bonus is that it’s hard to feel down on yourself or your work if you’re helping someone else feel and do better with theirs.

    • Monica Lee

      I like that you found your tribe…I agree and if you can’t find one make one!

  • I’ve heard many quotes about competition over the years but I think I like this one best “Competitions are for horses, not artists” (Bela Bartok) and I agree. I am always competing, but only with myself. To be the best ME I can BE. I agree with you and say -community not competition! Way to go Monica for saying it like it is girl! xo-Heather

  • Woo hoo, Monica! I am with you exactly on that topic! Thanks for taking the words right
    out of my mouth, and the thoughts out of my head. (We must be tuned into the same
    channel!) I have too often found that in local circles many of the other artists are not
    willing to share their secrets with newcomers, and they do tend to view other artists’
    successes as competition. I am not an athlete, have never been nor desired to be one.
    I am an artist. Thank you for the sharing supportive community you have created on
    Smart Creative Women. Love the videos!

    • Monica Lee

      Omigoodness Kandy! Thank you so so much for writing all that! I am so glad their are other people that think this way (kind of reassuring) Sometimes I wondered if I drop the competitive vibe -will I not go as far in life?…then I thought, who cares, at least I will be happy!

  • Ina

    It is funny how the Universe works sometimes. Just this morning, I finished reading “Spirit Junkie” by Gabrielle Bernstein, ( a great book, even if it is a bit hard to get your head around with a “western capitalist” thought process) and it talked about exactly the same thing! I think we slowly realize more and more that there is a better way to succeed, live and love that what we mostly do now. You can achieve your dreams and not be mean, ignorant and competitive, and community and support reaches so much further than self reliance and competition. I am happy to see more and more successful people putting this out there, so thanks Monica! If we all implement these ideas, we might just change the world! 🙂

    • Monica Lee

      Ina! Yes, let’s change the world one (good) thought at a time!

  • I love the sentence “Studies have proven that sending a customer to perceived “competition” inspires loyalty and has big monetary rewards”. For nearly twelve years I worked for a man who firmly believed that. During those years his company grew from four stores to twelve. He had successful professionals contact him out of the blue wanting to invest in his business. When he retired (young enough to pursue his other dreams) he sold the business, which is still thriving. I later worked for another gentleman who had a seasonal retail business in a local seaside resort community. I went to work for him when he opened a year round shop in town. His philosophy was “I am the only show in town; you are just an upstart, pretend the competition doesn’t exist.” For the first few months his second shop did okay, but the business never grew. He was not only afraid of competition, he was afraid of his employees knowing more than he did. Needless to say, I didn’t say there very long, and his business just fizzled out within a couple of years.
    I’m now a member of a quilt designers’ cooperative. We vend at shows or speak at quilt guilds as a group. I believe I can speak for all six of us when I say we see this as inspiration, not competition.