Competition: The Disease of the Soul

Recently, singer/actress/diva Beyonce Knowles was on 60 Minutes discussing her success. One of the questions asked of her was whether she and husband, Jay Z, compete against each other. Beyonce’s response was in essence I don’t compete against others but against myself.

It’s a profoundly simple but true statement. Yet, I know many couples, siblings and friends whose entire relationship centers around competition. They compete to be top wage earner, most successful, best looking, best dressed, best cook or best anything. They compete to compete, and they approach their relationship as I win, you lose.

I’m no relationship expert but any relationship structured this way seems destined to fail because their definition of success includes a comparative component that they can’t win unless someone else loses.

Now this doesn’t mean that all competition is bad. In fact, I personally believe competition is healthy because it challenges you to reach beyond your comfort zone. The competition, I’m concerned about is not healthy competition but destructive competition with the people in your life.

After all, these are the people in your life! Think about how you feel when you lose. You feel rejected, like a failure and at times, a bit hopeless. Why would anyone want to create these feelings in their partner, sibling or friend? This truly couldn’t be in the best interest of a relationship. Your goal in any relationship should not be how you can get more and they get less but how you both can emerge with plenty!

The bottom line is a healthy competitor understands that you compete against a standard not people. If you’re someone who is in a relationship where competition rules the day, find a way to build self esteem in some other way than making those you love feel bad. Doing so will allow you to form a better relationship. Otherwise, you will have succeeded on the Millionaire Journey but it certainly will be lonely at the top.


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