We grow up hearing that being competitive will help you reach your goals, be better, do better. "Life's competitive", But does it have to be like that? It can be hard not to get pulled into a competitive mindset when it’s all around you
Being a competitive person generally means that you have a strong desire to win, achieve, or excel in some area of your life (even on the yoga mat), but it can also be the tendency to compete with yourself where your focus is solely on yourself. You are motivated by your self-achievement and a desire to master every task (or yoga pose).
Competitive people tend to have a strong desire to come out on top whether that's in sports, academics, or the workplace and they are often willing to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve their goals, even in the face of obstacles or setbacks. They might also may be more willing to take risks in order to achieve their goals, whether that means trying a new approach or taking on a new challenge.
So, is being competitive good or bad?… well, it depends. Competitiveness can be problematic when someone is overcompetitive. For someone who is overcompetitive, winning and being the best is all that counts and it is easier to forget about the real reasons why you do what you do and your values. But it can also be a way of increasing your motivation, study more, and work harder towards your goals (on and off the mat)
There is no standardized test to determine whether someone is competitive or not, as competitiveness can manifest in different ways and can be influenced by a variety of factors. However, here are some questions and statements that may help you understand your own tendencies towards competitiveness:
Do you often feel a strong desire to win or be the best at everything you do?
Do you tend to look at the people practicing next to you and compare to them?
Do you set high standards for yourself and strive to meet or exceed them?
Do you enjoy challenges and actively seek out opportunities to test your skills?
Do you feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you achieve a goal (or a yoga pose) or win a competition?
Do you compare your performance to that of others and use that comparison to motivate yourself to improve?
Excessive competitiveness can lead to stress, burnout, and negative behaviors such as cheating or sabotage. It's important to strive for a healthy balance of competitiveness and cooperation in order to achieve personal success while also contributing to a positive and supportive environment.
It's important to note that answering "yes" to some of these questions does not necessarily mean that you are an overly competitive person. Competitiveness can be a positive trait when channeled in healthy and productive ways, such as striving to achieve personal goals or working to improve your skills.
Yoga can be a helpful practice for balancing competitiveness by fostering a greater sense of self-awareness, mindfulness, and inner peace. Through yoga, you become more aware of your body, your breath, and your thoughts. This increased self-awareness can help you recognize when your competitiveness is becoming excessive and may be causing negative effects in your life or your relarelations. Yoga teaches us to cultivate compassion and empathy towards ourselves and others. This can help us view competition as a healthy and positive aspect of life, rather than a means of comparison or domination. Lastly, in yoga, we practice detachment from outcomes and focus instead on the process. This can help us let go of our attachment to winning or achieving external recognition, and instead focus on our own personal growth and development. Take time to pause, reflect, and ask yourself if what you are competing for is really important? And never forget to be extremely kind to yourself and remind yourself of the things you are doing well!