Is it normal not to like competition?

Competitive thinking: In competition with others

Competition stimulates business. It can encourage, arouse ambition, bring about innovations - especially if it is directed against a competing company in the industry, for example. Too much of it, however - and it becomes dangerous. Especially among colleagues: When jealousy, Competitive thinking and rivalry get out of hand, elbow fights, intrigues or even sabotage can quickly develop. Not everyone takes it sportily and endures it in the long run. A survey even came to the result that one in four people in Germany has already changed jobs because they could no longer bear the rivalries, another 30 percent have Termination for such foul play taken into consideration…

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Definition: What is competitive thinking anyway?

According to Duden, this is an attitude or behavior that is determined by the tendency to see others primarily as a competitor. Anyone who is better will do it automatically to the enemythat needs to be beaten and defeated as quickly as possible: higher, faster, further, better ...

This can be compared quite well with the cynical bon mot: To escape a bear, you don't have to be faster than the bear - just faster than the other! That is exactly the (pointed) Core idea of ​​competitive thinking: It's not about perfecting a skill or developing a talent into true mastery. Ultimately, it's all about being better than the others - just a step ahead.

Even if there is still room for improvement, your own limits have not yet been reached or you could run much faster, as in the example with the bear, the only thing that matters is to leave the others behind and to be at the top yourself. We are even prepared to put the well-being of our fellow human beings on the back burner and, if necessary, to sacrifice them to a hungry bear weighing 500 kilograms.

However, we are competitive innate. Even children compare and measure each other in play. In school it is partly promoted through competitions and grades and finally continues in training (“best of the year”) and in the job. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing at first: After all, the comparison also helps with your own Location determination.

Competitive thinking always becomes problematic when it is needed to determine one's own self-worth, motto: I am only good when I am the best (in everything) and can outdo others. Many are thus victims of one Brainwashingto which they have subjected themselves: “In the age of the mass media we are constantly comparing ourselves with the incomparable - and that does not encourage us; that makes us jealous, sluggish, angry, envious, ”said Norbert Bolz, media professor at the TU Berlin, for example.

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Competitive Thinking: This is how it leverages the mind

As we think about competition and how we ultimately act and decide, however, is not infrequently in a veritable Contradiction.

How selfish Sometimes people decide too much even though they say too much Rivalry at work repel them, shows a now legendary experiment by the Harvard School of Public Health. The university's graduates were given the choice:

  • Would you rather $ 50,000 earn while everyone else in the class has an average income of $ 25,000?
  • Or would you rather $ 100,000 earn while the rest earn an average salary of $ 200,000?

Mind you: It was only about the group of participants, not about an economy. So anyone who argues with inflation here will pull it Salary range too far.

The result speaks volumes: More than that Half of the participants stated that they prefer to live on a low income as long as they are better off than those in their immediate environment. How stupid! Because with an annual income of 100,000 euros, a living standard that is twice as high could be achieved.

Or to put it another way: We are ready to forego an advantage for everyone involved and for ourselves if we do so in competition with other people can put better.

However, the result of the study also shows that the majority above all mindful of one's own social advantage is. If the thought were spun further and transferred to work, that would mean in practice that people would also be willing to forego praise or recognition from the boss entirely if their colleagues received significantly more or nicer compliments.

Already it works Thought carousel go: Why does the boss praise me less? What does the other one have that I don't have? Do they have a secret relationship? And the opponents are already stretching their elbows and making life difficult for each other. Competition doesn't sleep. Crazy, right?!

On the one hand, we strive for Harmony, solidarity and team spirit. But in the back only your own superior status counts.

But how can it be that competitiveness at some point switches off the mind, ignores the general advantage and only sees one's own (supposed) benefit?

From a scientific point of view, this behavior is rightly called irrational designated. There are actually no logical thoughts and factual explanations behind this, but rather an extremely strong emotion: Status thinking.

More than 40 years ago, the economist Richard Easterlin discovered that more money in no way leads to greater satisfaction with your own life. In several studies he was able to show that people do not get happier at all when, for example, the Prosperity of a whole country grows.

To go back to the example above: For our own well-being, it makes no difference whether I earn $ 50,000 or $ 100,000 a year - it just depends on that Relation to income of the other.

Anyone who calculates in this way reveals a species at the same time Lack of thinking, Motto: I have to secure as large a piece of the cake as possible before it's eaten. Such people are usually followed by strong fears of loss - always on the lookout that nobody takes anything away from them or steals their ideas. But only those who have no ideas of their own have to fear it.

Women avoid jobs with a lot of competition

When it comes to hiring more women, competition tends to deter them. Short: Women avoid jobs that are highly competitive - all the more so when competition influences the level of the salary. This is the result of a study by scientists from the University of Chicago.

The researchers switched a few to this job advertisements in 16 major metropolises in the USA - all kept neutral, so they contained the usual job descriptions and requirements.

Then later in the Job Interview However, the candidates learned the more precise conditions:

  • One group was told they were getting one Paying $ 15 an hour.
  • The second group of applicants was based on the fee $ 13.50 shortened - employees who did particularly well compared to their colleagues would receive one Bonus of an additional three dollars received per hour.
  • A third offer even saw an hourly wage of only twelve dollars before - at one Six dollar bonus.

Of the total of 6,779 candidates who applied for the positions, 2,702 were actually ready to take the job, of which 1,566 were women and 1,136 men. However, men were 94 percent more willing to take on the bonus jobs than women. The The majority rejected the offerswhen they should compete individually with colleagues.

Competitive thinking is extreme black and white thinking

As long as all those involved take the competition sportily and adhere to fair play rules, a little bit of competition can inspire and generate new ideas. Unfortunately, this often gets out of hand at work and in the office. Colleagues become bitter competitors who deal with Cockfighting and catfight Hit the pan from behind, saw on chairs, ruthlessly set legs and let them run into open knives.

It goes without saying that this not only eats up enormous amounts of energy and harms the working atmosphere - it also sets the completely wrong priorities. What really happens is that we are one of those intrinsic motivation ("I love my job.") replace with an extrinsic one ("The main thing is that I'm better.") and make us and our self-confidence dependent on others. In short: we voluntarily enter into mental slavery.

Of course this can Competitive pressure also fueled from outside - for example by the boss or in sales. Even if there are clear and fair rules of the game, they can Consequences negative Be: Employees feel increasing pressure, tense up and just burn out faster.

Unhealthy competitive thinking usually begins in the head. It's a special one Form of black and white thinking, a kind of Zero sum gamein which there are only winners or losers. There is nothing in between.

The perfidious and wrong thought behind it: If the other wins, I've already lost something. Every foreign victory takes something away from me. Nonsense! In fact, it is precisely the shared joy of success that can achieve more than envy and jealousy.

For example, think of the so-called Rosenthal effect (also as Pygmalion effect known):

In 1963, the American psychologist Robert Rosenthal subjected 18 elementary school children to an experiment: their teachers were told that these children were chosen because they particularly gifted be. Than eight months later at this school Intelligence test was carried out, these same students performed better than all the others. The joke, however, was: the story was made up - the students were just a random sample, as talented as anyone else. However, their teachers thought they would do particularly well - and so did they.

Success is not just based on Competition and superior ability, but also what we trust each other to do. Just cooperation often create the greater added value.

So please make it clear to yourself:

  • There will always be someone who is better or has more. All Comparisons these types are ultimately pointless, lead to more stress and make you unhappy.
  • Don't be polished surfaces dazzle: Money and success are by no means a guarantee that the other would be happier too.
  • Don't overlook yours uniqueness. Instead of looking at your weaknesses, you might as well look at your strengths - after all, you are often better at that.

Competitive thinking peaks at 50

Even in childhood it begins that men measure and compare with each other: "My Lego spaceship is cooler." "That's why mine has more lasers!" "That's why I'm bigger." After adolescence and with the driver's license, it continues on the streets. And with increasing maturity (if you can even call it that), it becomes: "My house, my car, my Bott, my wife, my job, my ..." In short: this one Tail comparisonAs the male attitude is also known colloquially, it never stops. Or is it?

There is hope, say some scientists working with Ulrich Mayr from the University of Oregon. According to their studies, the desire to compete and test your strength increases with age - at the age of 50 but achieve competitive thinking Climax and then decrease significantly.

For their investigations, the researchers made a pilgrimage to a large shopping center, among other places. A total of 543 volunteers between the ages of 25 and 75 took part in the experiments there - men and women. They were asked a few Math problems to solve as quickly as possible, for example: true or false: 7 + 2 + 3 - 6 = 5? They were able to collect points with every round and win prizes at the end.

The trick was: There were different types of rounds:

  • In the first, the subjects only played against yourself and time.
  • In the second, they had to pick one at random Defeat rivals.
  • In the third, decisive round, they had that choicewhether they want to play against time again or against a competitor.

Like them in the first two rounds cut off However, they did not know at the time, as the scientists only revealed at the end of all three rounds. An important premise to preclude strategic opting.

The result was astonishing: the test subjects (35 percent) decided much less often for personal competition than the men (73 percent). There were also clear ones Age differences for both sexes: Almost 70 percent of men between 45 and 54 wanted to play against others, but only 50 percent of subjects between 25 and 34 years of age.

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