Competition – leads to financial and professional success

We at think that it is healthy to be competitive. It can benefit you in your personal life, your career, the business world, or really anywhere. It can help a family or child break free of poverty, or lead to improved career opportunities, educational achievements and maybe the competitive drive can lead to a higher income in the corporate or business world. While we think competition can be a positive, now of course the key being that the competition needs to be healthy and fair.

Competition can help people across all backgrounds. It could be the fuel that is used to improve the outlook of a struggling, low income family that is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty or hardship. They may be working at a certain job, making maybe just enough money (or not quite enough) to pay the bills and get by each month. You may ask, how can competition help in this case?

Competition may come into play in this example if/when a promotion comes up at work. Or maybe there is a project in the workplace that they can tackle and stand out on. Or maybe an educational opportunity, important presentation or job training presents itself to the person who is in this situation. Competition inspires people to do their best to reach for their goals. It can help them stand out from their workers or others, which can lead to improved career prospects. Or educational achievement. Striving to be the best, to be number one can be a tool that can be used to overcome poverty, and there are real life examples of this.

Succeeding at work can bring greater opportunity, recognition, income, and other benefits. Being the best at learning a new skill can lead to more opportunities and specializing. There are countless stories of people that possessed an extreme competitive drive and that rose from entry level positions to CEO of a company, and one example being Ursula Burns (CEO of Xerox) who grew up in a poor family from NYC. Her family was often not able to pay the utility bill or cover the rent for a certain month. Her drive helped her achieve professional success.

There are many like her, and other people who rise from the “mailroom” or internship to executive levels or that had strong careers. While of course being competitive was not the only reason for their success, the individuals who have gone down this path of leaving a difficult background often speak to that drive being an important factor. It can lead to greater things in life.

There are additional stories, including of Burns, John Paul DeJoria (of Paul Mitchell) and other children coming from challenging backgrounds, underfunded schools, rough neighborhoods, poverty, etc. If they can have that “fire” instilled in them to be the best in class, ace tests, and be a top student, that can be extremely beneficial to the kid as they gain their education and hopefully create a “better” life for themselves; no matter what their definition of “better” is. People with a competitive drive, skills, and other motivation can come from a background of poverty or from low income families and be successful.

While I am not a parent, I think a common theme I hear and read about is parents should want their kid to have a “better life” than they did. That better life can mean many different things…happiness, financial success, educational achievement, life goals, or whatever., and healthy competition can help the child meet those objectives. It can even help them accept failure if/when that happens.

I have always been competitive at things I cared about, whether playing sports as a kid or competing to be the best at work. When I was serious about something, in those cases I was committed to doing what I could to be the best at whatever activity I was involved in. While I sometimes or often failed, I tried to use those failures as a learning experience as well as further motivation.

Competitive drive helped me achieve success, even starting at childhood. When I was a paperboy, many of the homeowners later told my mom I was the best they ever had…which is what I wanted to be. I was employee of the month twice at Wegmans, which was a first ever at the store, and I give much of the credit to my competitive drive to be the best. I wanted to be great (and lucky) at investing as well as business and be a top one percenter by income and assets financially, so my competitive drive helped lead to the Financial Independence and Retirement Early or FIRE as the term is now known.

I competed in the corporate world to grow and gain new responsibilities, which led to me to going for a position as the youngest director at the company…and I won out! I was competitive and wanted to be the best at whatever job I did. Heck I never even called out of work sick one in my lifetime…even going back to my paper boy days. I never missed a day of work in my life, and the competitive drive to excel and stand out was a part of the reason why.

However my competitive drive did not carry over to school as much. My drive was more work oriented, as I respected and valued the personal satisfaction that came from giving my all. Of course some other benefits that can come from working hard include recognition from peers or management and sometimes a higher income. I always wanted to prove myself to my bosses, my co-workers, and show my drive to be the best. If someone was doing a good job near me, I wanted to do it even better than that person. I hoped it would open doors to more career opportunities and therefore income.

Anyone that starts a business will often need to compete against others as well. They need that drive to be the best, do what is needed to provide higher service, offer better products to their customers or whatever. They need to do all that and more better than their competition. That is partly what lead me to be successful, and I fought the competitors in my industry and won out much more often that I lost. The drive helped me hit my financial as well as professional goals.

Some people may think business competition is harmful. While it can make things more challenging, the pros of competition is really for the end customer. It leads to more innovation for them, better customer service, and it keeps the business moving forward and evolving. It caused me to get up everyday, super early in the morning and focus. Competition helped me strive to be the best.

Competition is generally a good thing. Trying to be the best person, to compete against others for opportunities (whether that work promotion, scholarship at school, etc.) can often benefit you as you grow as an individual. You can even compete against yourself everyday to be the best. And even when you fail, that too can provide further motivation.

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