What would life be without competitions? If there was no one to push you, or no one for you to push, things would have been boring. In the true sense, does anyone really like to be competed against? In our natural human instinct, I don’t think so. Imagine if you were the most outstanding person in the class; everyone considered you to be a genius; you were well respected by your mates, then, suddenly, there’s a new kid in the block that knows far better than you. To make matters worse, all your folks that used to hang around you in awe, one by one, began to evaporate, and condense where your new mate is. Your first reaction will be, ‘what a heck? This new guy has taken away all my adorable stuff!’ The reason for your reaction is because, by nature, no one likes to be opposed. Have you ever noticed your boss’ reaction when you opposed his ‘breakthrough’ ideas with a minute thought-through-whiz kid-ground-breaking suggestion? He spent weeks ruminating on a strategy, but in one minute, you came up with something he never ever imagined. His funny face wasn’t because he’s a bad man; it is just natural.
In spite of nature, maturity states that competition is important. If it is, then we must go for it. Our feelings must take second place when it comes to someone doing better than us. In careers and professions, there will always be someone either better than you or driving you beyond the limit. In entrepreneurship, family, personal and corporate development, someone is in a corner, to stir you to action if you’re ready to run.
Sometime ago, I was challenged by a book written by a 19 year old lady. When I read it, I had a sleepless night, because I started reviewing on my mind, all the books and articles I’ve written if they were worth the standard. To me, that was a competition; a much needed one to make me stand up and put more fuel in my tank, so that I can drive faster and longer.
Why do we need competitors?
Competitors make us determine our strength: if you were an athlete practising to take part in an Olympic Games, any record you set outside a championship is unofficial because it doesn’t determine your true strength. All the goals scored during the practice session of any football club are irrelevant until they play against an opponent. The strength of Arsenal Football Club or Barcelona isn’t determined based on their beautiful jerseys; what determines it, is competition. Stop criticising your opponent; beat your opponent.
Competitors make you determine your weakness: I always thought jogging was easy until I took part in one. With my mouth, I ran a million miles in one hour, but when it was time to put it to action, my secret was exposed.
I went out jogging with some folks; in less than one mile, I was panting like a harassed hyena.
You can’t know your weakness until you face competition. Knowing your weakness is actually an opportunity for you to re-strategise. Rather than re-strategise, some people turn it into gangster fight. Such people dampen the privilege of becoming better because they receded into less-than-childish behaviours.
Competitors make you conduct research: why do most companies conduct research? It is because they want to be ahead of their competitors. As a result of wanting to be ahead, they come up with more beautiful and quality products. If there were no competitions, we would probably, still be watching black and white televisions. If there wasn’t competitions, we would probably, still be using analogue phones. Competitions call for research; research makes better products!
Competitors make you a think tank: in an atmosphere of competition, you’re forced to put on your thinking cap. In this atmosphere, you develop the skills of creative idea generation and innovation. All because someone is at your back, therefore, you have to watch your back. If you don’t watch your back, what will hit you will come at the speed of light.
There are some products we used as children; today, we can’t even find them anymore. Those organisations maybe, thought that they were already formidable, therefore, no one could beat them, but they ended up being beaten. So, you may be ahead, but remember, there are billions of people following you from behind. If you don’t watch your pace, and increase your race, you’ll be overthrown.
Competitors awaken your promotional consciousness: it is true that some companies don’t advertise, but this is because government policies still support their monopoly. There is no organisation in an open market system with competitors everywhere that will not get up to push the positioning of its products in the marketplace. If you are reluctant to promote your brand, competitors will make you to. If you’re rigid in promoting your brand, you won’t stay long in the marketplace. Whether individually, privately or corporately, brands are involved in a war; only the most strategic wins the fight.
What other reasons make competition relevant? It energises your negotiation skills, helps you re-evaluate your position, makes you more proactive, and determines your emotional maturity and leadership style.
I know that there are unhealthy competitions, but good competitions are good for you!