Competition says “I will win at any cost even if it means taking you down in the process.” Cooperation says “How can I help you or be of service, what do you need next personally or professionally?”
The definition of “Compete” is to strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same. It also means to take part in a contest. Winning is fine for sports, contests, competitions etc. That’s the place where striving to win or defeating the opposition is an acceptable form of competition. If I am competing in a speech contest as I have in the past or submitting an entry in a writing contest, I want to win. I want to be the one who defeats the competition. Olympians train for years to defeat the competition and win the Gold Medal. It’s a triumph for all their hard work. Competition is healthy in that sense. Also in business where it’s a winner takes all type of bid for a contract. If your company has the best proposal to win the competitive bid process, that’s a normal part of doing business. There can still be a cooperative aspect to that process but for the most part it’s about winning the competition.
Competition that tears people down for the benefit of the competitor to destroy or tear apart the other person to create a win for them is a different kind and not something you want to be involved in. Here are some examples of unhealthy competition:
Unhealthy competition comes from fear. Fear that there’s not enough or fear that someone else might be successful instead of you. Sometimes people do us wrong and we feel like we have to take them down in order to set it right. All any of that does is stir up negativity and toxicity. Nothing healthy or good ever comes out of setting out to destroy another person, group or company.
So how do we overcome this type of competition? We must strive to work in cooperation with one another, seeking to help each other reach the top. I am a member of many organizations to help my business grow. One of them, eWomen Network has a great slogan that says “lift as you climb.” What that means is as you go up, bring others along with you.
If we strive to work and live in cooperation, realizing that we are here to support each other and that there’s enough room at the top for everyone, maybe there will be less destructive situations and more cooperation among us.