Competition Breeds Success

So I’ve been having some business discussions with friends lately and we’ve had some great topics come up. As you know, birds of a feather tend to flock together and all of that, and likewise most of my friends are business-minded. They may or may not be of an entrepreneurial focus as I am, but they are very pro-business in their focus.

One of them indicated that he’s started working with this non-profit organization (a big one) and that he’s never seen such, in his words, “piss-poor” management. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that around town in regards to this particular branch of that organization.

This branch is in trouble and they’re at risk of shutting their doors. They’ve been in a troubled state for years and with the present economy, it’s really looking bleak. Whether it’s deserved or not, it’s being viewed as a management issue.

“Why”, he asked, “can’t they get some decent managers in there?” While I don’t know anything about the inner workings of that particular situation, I can give a pretty good guess as to why they struggle with management. It’s because non-profits, schools, and government positions are low-competition positions. They’re positions where your income is largely subsidized and therefore stable. Sure, it may be lower than in the private sector, but the stability is there. These organizations generally do not (and are not expected to) draw a profit and grow, and people keep their jobs regardless. There’s no danger and there’s no competition.

Now before anyone gets too upset I want you to know that I’m not bagging on the social services or institutions or the people who work there. There are some extremely competent employees of these companies. However, the extremely competent employees know exactly what I’m talking about.

So as a result of not having to really worry about producing results or having the next generation run you over, people in positions of power in these organizations don’t often have a need to get better. Without that strong push, they don’t or they progress slowly. These organizations become places where people who can’t or don’t want to compete go to hide.

Ok, enough soapboxing. What does this have to do with fitness? EVERYTHING! Let’s look at the old line of “survival of the fittest” for a second. How about we reverse it a bit? “The fittest will survive”

I like it! True fitness success comes through motivation and focus. Nothing sharpens up one’s focus and motivates one more than stiff competition. If you have to get better, you will get better. Guaranteed. Will you hit your goal? Maybe yes, maybe no. However, there’s almost no question that you’ll be a whole heck of a lot further with some competitive help than if you were just bumbling along at the pace of complacency.

Why do you think shows like the Biggest Loser are so successful? A big part of it is that there’s a competition going on! That’s why these people don’t quit.

Do you have to have someone to compete against? Does every session in the gym have to be a battle against your best friend, worst enemy, or personal trainer? Nope. Those are all great motivators, but you can build your own competition. How many push-ups did you do the last session? Twelve? Ok, well then today is the day for thirteen. Competition breeds progress and success. Even if you’ve run away from conflict and competition your whole life, find it in yourself to put a few teeth in your workout today. Compete against last week’s workout and make tomorrow better. You’ll be surprised at the results.