success wolf

Is Having a Competitive Nature the Key to Success?

My family has always been extremely competitive. We’re talking hardcore mock-Olympics and ruthless basketball games in the driveway. My dad and I were always the more outwardly competitive ones—don’t talk to us if we lose! 

Yet, my brother and mom are more inwardly competitive. I think that is a big difference. My brother internalizes his competitiveness and uses it to fuel his desires and drive him through his ultimately ambitious life goals.

 I, on the other hand, am very obvious about my competitiveness. I’ve been called a sore loser many times, and honestly, it doesn’t bother me!

 I show my feelings of defeat, while my brother and mom, just accept a loss graciously, on the outside that is. 

But, just because we lose doesn’t mean we can’t be successful. I could lose a game of basketball, but be an overall successful basketball player. So, what does the concept of competitiveness, outward or inward, have to do with success? Are the two linked? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word competitive most nearly means, “having a strong desire to win or be the best at something.” 

If you encounter someone who has a “strong desire to win,” it is extremely difficult to stop him/her from fulfilling this desire. Desires are internally driven. Things that occur within someone are a part of his/her mental make-up; therefore, a competitive person could arguably be a person destined for success. 

Christina Termyna, a sophomore communications student, believes that success and competitiveness are linked. 

Termyna said, “In order to get where you want to be in life, you have to prove that you can exceed expectations and that you are unlike anyone else.” 

And a strong desire, as its definition suggests, is the drive behind the concept of exceeding expectations. 

The correlation between competition and success is very strong. Many people can see this correlation as being quite negative, which can be true. Too much of a good thing can be lethal, right? 

If someone is far too competitive it could cloud his/her judgment and become an obstacle in his/her path for success. 

But, the real question here is what do you define as success? If your idea of success is helping as many people as you can and being an outstanding citizen, competitiveness might get in your way of that. 

If you were always striving to be the best you can be, as the definition suggests, your competitiveness would probably make you think that it is okay to step on the hands of others to get to your ultimate goal. Clearly, that wouldn’t be helping people as your definition of success calls for. 

Yet, on the other hand, if your idea of success is similar to those portrayed by classic movies such as Wall Street, or modern ones like The Wolf of Wall Street, then you would picture success as becoming wealthy and rising to the top of the food-chain in your professional field. 

In this case, competitiveness would be key in achieving success but could provide negative consequences as seen in these films.

Amanda Drennan, a sophomore communication student, said, “If you’re not competitive and you have no drive, you won’t be as successful as someone who has that competitiveness and drive. This is because you won’t have the want and need to do better.” 

People who are competitive have that notion that they need to be better than everyone in the room. Because of this competitiveness and drive, they will be the ones to stay up past two in the morning to prepare for a big interview or presentation. 

Generally, these people don’t care if they step all over others to get what they want. People with this view see other people as being in the way and as competition. By having that competitiveness hardwired inside them, other people who aren’t as competitive just don’t stand a chance. 

So, if you have the same idea of what success is as the majority of the world, competitiveness should have a pretty positive impact on your life journey and goals. It would be naïve to think that there is no place for competitiveness in the quest for success. 

Competition is a part of human nature. Even in the popular scientific belief, Darwin’s survival of the fittest, competition is seen as a necessary evil. Those who direct their competitiveness in a competitive yet positive direction will be the fittest, or most successful, of them all.