Competition can be healthy if held in the proper perspective. It can serve as fuel to inspire us to push beyond the limits we previously imposed upon ourselves. However, there is a danger in depending on competition as the primary source of motivation in manifesting our desired outcomes.
As others merely serve as reflections of ourselves, those we compete against are serving as reflections of our limitations. They aid and assist us in seeing the limits we have created for ourselves. Once we can move beyond depending on adversaries to highlight our own limitations we become less dependent on needing competitors to provide the impetus to excel.
Defining our successes through the conquest and besting of others creates the illusion of success. As we look to our defeated competitors as an indication of our own improvement we immediately look away from the measure of our own personal growth. It may seem as the defeat of another is indicative of our success, but we can defeat another person with no measure of personal improvement. The measuring stick for success is a personal one, so once we hold our own measuring stick against another person’s endeavors we cannot be honest with ourselves in our own self-assessment.
What happens when we have no more competitors outside of ourselves? Our only means of self-improvement comes at the hands of another when we depend on them to drive us toward success. This means that we stand still and stagnate without another person to compete against. We become blind to our own personal power, we lose the capacity for self-motivation. We have not learned to recognize our limitations on our own, thus we experience defeat at our own hands without another to serve as an adversary.
In competition, in order for us to win someone has to lose. When we depend on another’s loss to define ourselves we continue to operate this way when we compete against ourselves, which means we have to ensure we lose in order to win. This in turn creates self-defeating behavior. The best way to ensure we succeed without an adversary is to help others succeed when we are improving our own circumstances. With every other person’s success or failure we can count that toward our own; with the defeat of a thousand people we suffer the death of a thousand cuts. When a thousand people succeed we excel by a thousand steps.