What does being competitive mean?
On one level, it’s an issue of QUALITY. Are you (or your products/services) good enough to compete against others?
On another, though, it’s about ATTITUDE.
How badly do you want to win?
This isn’t just semantics. It’s integral to the concept. Because of…
The Exponential Nature of Competition
Here’s something that people who haven’t competed at a high level don’t quite understand.
The intensity of competitiveness grows exponentially, the closer you get to the goal.
In other words, it’s easier to get from 80% to 95% than it is to go from 95% to 96% — and then, it just keeps getting worse!
In the high-demand entrance tests to medical schools in India, scores are reported to the FOURTH decimal point, suggesting that for every mark increment, there are potentially10,000 more contenders!
That’s brutal competition, by any standard.
What Does It Take To Be So Competitive?
Is it quality alone?
I don’t think so. After all, each candidate taking the test is comparable on that score.
To understand what sets some of them apart, I’ll quote this excerpt from a book by Olympic swimming champion Don Schollander, “Not The Triumph, But The Struggle”:
“In top competition a whole new ingredient enters swimming — pain.
“You learn the pain in practice and you will know it in every race. It begins as you approach the limit of your endurance, coming on gradually, hitting your stomach first. Your arms grow heavy and your legs tighten — the thighs, the knees.
“You sink lower in the water, as if someone were pushing down on your back. You can’t hold yourself up. Your perception changes. The sounds of the pool blend and become a roar in your ears. The water takes on a pinkish tinge. Your stomach feels as though it’s going to fall out; every kick hurts like hell — and suddenly you hear a shrill, internal scream.
“Then you have a choice. You can back off, or you can force yourself to drive to the finish, knowing that the pain will become excruciating. Right there, the great competitors separate from the rest, for it’s those last few meters that count.“
This passage encapsulates the reality of hyper-competitiveness.
The evidence lies in the spread of marks in highly competitive tests and sports.
Those who raced away into the final sprint had no real competition left to beat. They distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, and sped far ahead.
But how could that happen?
Weren’t the others just as competitive?
Because, as Schollander says:
“Most swimmers back away. If you push through the pain barrier into real agony, you’re a champion.”
The only way to do that — is to WANT TO WIN… badly!
By the way, many competitive people have already read my book. Have you?