» Are You Addicted to Competition?

Pro to Pro Insights

Laura Cannon

This post was written by Laura Cannon, President of the International Association of Professional Wedding Officants and owner of Ceremony Officiants™, an award-winning team of officiants serving 8 states on the East Coast. A member of the National Speakers Association, Laura is passionate about bridging the gap between spirituality and business and teaching others how to bring more love, balance, and mindfulness into their lives. Visit her website to learn more.

It’s no secret that competition can be fierce in the wedding and events industry, with a crowded marketplace of wedding professionals vying for business in practically every corner of the globe. Competition can bring out the best in entrepreneurs by spurring innovation and creative solutions, and fueling a desire to constantly push the limits of what’s possible. But is there a hidden cost in being addicted to competition?

Arm wrestling competitionThe Art of War

Inc. Magazine recently named The Art of War by Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese treatise on military strategy and tactics, as one of the top ten most influential business books of all time. Although it wasn’t written as a business book, it has had a huge influence on capitalism in both the East and West, with many Japanese corporations making the book required reading for executives. The notion of treating competitors as enemies to be conquered, an “us against them” attitude, is generally accepted and encouraged in business – with few questions asked about its effects on companies, people, or the broader economy.

Viewing competitors as enemies can have many short-term benefits, but it’s a perspective that also comes with unintended long-term consequences. Like anything in life, a competitive mindset is best used in moderation – it may be helpful in some situations, but could become detrimental if it gets out of hand. What happens when a competitive mindset becomes an addiction?

The Price of Competition

Anyone who has achieved great success in business, or at anything in life, can tell you that winning feels good. The problem is, the good feeling doesn’t last long, and once you’ve had it you only want more. To get more of that good feeling, you stay locked into the competitive mindset.

Focusing too much on competition can easily become an addictive cycle that takes on a life of its own. Just like any addiction, the competitive mindset may have short term rewards but it also has long term consequences.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Comparative Social Science, happiness decreases as the level of competition increases. It is nearly impossible to win 100% of the time, but of course as business owners, we want to be the best in our trade. When it doesn’t happen we are left feeling angry, humiliated, worthless, and ashamed.

To make matters even worse, since people typically avoid feeling those types of negative feelings, they tend to unconsciously project that negativity onto others by gossiping and attempting to discredit them in some way. This way of being creates even more negativity in our lives and in our industry as a whole. It’s a way to become caught in a never-ending loop of habitually focusing on the external world to determine our internal sense of self-worth.

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