My Basic Philosophy on Competition
I scoff at participation awards, which are awards you (or your child) get for just showing up. I like healthy competition. I distinguish healthy competition from unhealthy competition in this way - In healthy competition, you strive to do your best to win. In unhealthy competition, you seek to win at all costs and belittle your opponents if you do win. For some people, competition brings out the best in them. For others, it brings out the worst in them. You can easily tell by the way they respond to a result. People with a healthy outlook on competition win graciously and find inspiration in losing. I also want employees who want to win, not ones who just want to show up. People who bring a positive viewpoint on competition into business also tend to seek win-win business relationships. In the end, that is the only negotiation style that can continue to produce positive results. If you continually strive for win-lose relationships, people eventually just stop playing with you.
A healthy attitude towards competition is a learned behavior. As a child, I didn't pay attention to participation awards as they didn't have much meaning to me. I always wanted to win, individually or as a team. I think I learned this from my parents. We competed using board games from as far back as I can remember. I wanted to win, but more importantly, that drove me to want to get better. At sports and games, I am always competitive. I also competed with my children and taught them to want to improve at whatever they decide is important to them. I never took it easy on them, but I was always a willing coach (and if I couldn't coach them on what mattered to them, I would find them a good coach).
To see what competing in sports, music, and games (poker in particular) has meant to me, please select those articles below.