Is Competition Holding You Back?


Ambition and a competitive personality often go hand in hand. And it makes sense – being competitive can give you the drive you need to get ahead. But competition doesn’t always work in your favour, and recognising when you need to chill can be vital for some serious career success. So how can you use your competitive streak to your advantage, while knowing when it’s time to rein it in?

Google defines competition as:

 ‘the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others’.

Applying this to a career context, the benefits seem rather obvious. Being competitive encourages motivation, based on the desire to improve yourself and become the best in your field. From this, competitive people are usually hard working and good problem solvers, as this motivation is then used to enhance their ability to develop new ways to succeed.

Competitive people as leaders

Competitive people can make really great leaders as well. Their desire to succeed can work to inspire those around them, creating a team-mentality.

That being said, you have to be careful not to let competition blind you to the bigger picture. Making sure you succeed above everyone else when you’re in a team setting, can be really detrimental – not only to yourself, but those around you as well. Imagine you’re working on a project, and because you want to be the best, you do a heap of the work yourself. Not only are you undermining your co-workers and their abilities, but you’ve gone and saddled yourself with a tonne of extra work. For no reason. And let’s face it, no one is going to be impressed if you give the impression that you think you’re better than everyone else.

You’ve got to try and channel your desire to get ahead, into encouragement for those around you to succeed as well.  Remind yourself that you want to be part of the team who wins, not be the single person standing out because you can’t put your ego aside!

Competition inspiring new ideas

Being competitive can also help you be more innovative; inspiring new ideas and ways of seeing things. If your goal is to be an expert in a certain field, then a competitive person isn’t going to give up the moment a problem arises. Instead, you’re encouraged to think about what steps you can take to overcome any setbacks.

The main issue that can arise from this, is if you view other successful people as problems. Feeling resentment towards those who are doing better than you is a great way to alienate potential friends. What good can come of disliking a person based on their success, when you could foster a positive professional relationship with them instead?

Try approaching people in your class or industry who are doing well and have a chat! See what you have in common, and share your ideas on success. Chance are, they might have some really great advice for you (and vice versa). So rather than trying to best your rivals, and fostering resentment – befriend them! You never know when such a relationship could open doors and help your career in the future.


Being a competitive person has its ups and downs – the important thing is not letting it get in the way of your success. It might seem counter-intuitive to think that your striving for success could actually hinder it, but it’s true. Being competitive means rising to any challenges you might face and achieving success! So challenge yourself, support those around you, and turn competition into success!

To finish up, here’s how not to challenge yourself in your quest for success…

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who has run the UTS Careers Blog since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.