Reading Time: 6 minutes
Uncharacteristically late start for me today.
I’ve finally gone back home to Fulham so I’m just readjusting my schedule and trying to get back into the swing of things here.
Today was a 1030am not 430am start haha – so I’ve definitely got a ton of catching up today.
Which leads me onto what I want to talk about today as a follow on for why I don’t engage in goal-setting.
I don’t think there’s a human on Earth that to some degree isn’t competitive.
Which is why I wish to delve into discussing the psychology of a competitive person.
Many people consider ‘competition’ to just be in the realms of people who publicly and proactively compete.
But actually, I think competition happens at all levels – and there is one kind of competition in particular that all of us engage in.
The interesting thing here is that I think this is the healthiest form of competition that will lead us to the most success and happiness in our lives.
And this is the competition that we have against OURSELVES.
One of the things I find extremely interesting is that the person I’m most regularly (and happily) trying to outdo is myself.
I find I get all of the benefits of competition – working that little bit harder, trying to do better than I did the last time around – with none of the downsides that come with competing against others (feeling deflated, depressed, like success is impossible)
Any level of lasting success we see in our lives most often comes through steady and consistent improvement.
A good example is how I’m approaching my 2021 content writing journey.
I’m not goal focussed – I’m much more routine focussed.
I.e I set out as one of my New Year’s resolutions to ensure that I committed to writing each day.
To begin with – that was just writing something each weekday – even if it was just 200 words – and not worry about anything else.
17 days later, I’ve written over 40,000 words and am writing on average 6-days a week.
To further this, the idea is that I wake up each morning and I write, and today, as well as yesterday – neither of those things happened.
Yet because I’m beginning to build and ingrain the habit – I’m still ensuring that I’m getting words in even after the 1030am ‘switch on time’.
I missed this morning as well as yesterday morning – but rather than getting upset about it – I simply decided to write later – when I found the time (and inspiration) like now.
For many years, my assumption was that I must compete against entrepreneurs making more money than me or people ostensibly having more success than myself – but in truth that has bought me nothing but highs and lows depending upon what ‘victory’ or ‘failure’ I have had.
That led to more anxiety, depressive feelings, feelings of loneliness – and general negative stuff that did nothing to help drive me towards success.
As I’ve begun to focus solely upon the principle of ‘just write every day’ – naturally I’m trying each day to just write that little bit more – without any of the pressure that comes from ‘not writing’.
This is the miraculous part about redefining how it is you compete against others.
I.e – just DON’T compete against others.
I have begun to write more than I have ever consistently written as a consequence of simply being comfortable with ‘writing every day’ – no matter what the word-count or the subject might be.
And now I’m breaking my own records and am leagues ahead of my colleagues who think about writing perhaps – but don’t.
Furthermore, competing against other people leads to narcissism, sociopathy, and ultimately are extrinsic drivers (i.e motivational factors outside of yourself) – that don’t give you the resolve that’s required to ‘compete’ over the long-term.
An unexpected benefit of me being ‘routine focussed’ rather than ‘goal focussed’ and ‘competitive with my peer’s – is that I’ve become more productive than I have ever been.
And this is by focussing solely upon myself, my own journey and my own goals.
If we combine this with my musings from yesterday evening’s blog about the power of now summary – by being engrossed in what you’re doing right now – and by setting yourself some VERY achievable tasks…
You will all by yourself start to compete against yourself.
And perhaps this is where I draw the distinctive line then.
This blog post is about the ‘psychology of a competitive person’ – because I was fascinated to see how my shift to routine focus instead of goal focus has made me more productive and in a way competitive without competing than I’ve even been.
The competition is entirely against me and that’s someone I hold no animosity against.
Especially as more and more I’m trying to focus upon what Tolle speaks of in ‘The Power of No’ – and realising there is no past nor present – but JUST this moment in time.
Having Reference Points
The way to incorporate having lofty goals into this is by being aware of some of the top people in your field.
And not looking at the revenue numbers they’ve achieved or anything of that ilk – it’s by looking at their general path and their general routines.
Sujan Patel from Mailshake (and Rampside Ventures) is someone I’ve got a ton of admiration for – and what he’s done with his brands he has built is incredible.
One of the big takeaways I got from reading his content is that much of his growth has been channelled from his personal blog – which I believe gets around 30,000 visitors a month.
This is interesting to me and aligns with my goals because I’m interested in using my personal brand as a platform to build an audience of fans who then by nature be interested in all of the experiments and things that I try.
So I’m loosely trying to copy what he has done with his blog – in that, I’m (now) writing content regularly and am doing (some) keyword research in the aim of ranking every single blog post that I write.
This will hopefully get me towards the same traffic level’s he is achieving – but I’m not focussed upon that as a goal as such – I’m looking at it like this:
If I write every day for 30 days, I’ll then review what adding 50,000 words plus links does to my blog – and then adjust accordingly – and maybe check in on that 1x per month.
In this way, it’s not even a ‘competition’ as such – but rather a useful reference point – as the approach I’m taking with my blog is quite drastically different.
Anyway, I wanted to share with you an insight into my psychology – and underline the reality that to some degree I believe ALL of us are like this.
And the way to encourage this in a manner that will lead you to success in your life is to incorporate the following into your world:
- Build a powerful routine
- Measure what you do
That’s it lol.
Totally appreciate both are easier said than done – but rest assured that ‘competitive people’ for the most part are great people.
Those who aren’t or are impacted by it likely have extrinsic reasons to compete and are continually yo-yoing emotionally because of this external way to view the process of competing.
If you run a 10-minute mile.
Go out and run 2 days later and see what you do.
Do this 5x and I am CERTAIN you will naturally start running < 10-minute miles.
That’s how to compete and THAT’s what competition will look like – and if one year later (assuming running is part of your routine) you’re measuring what you do and running regularly – you may well be running 8-minute miles and have already completed a 10k race.
Because more = more – and each time you release a little bit of dopamine by completing one of your tasks – you’ll want to do that LITTLE bit more to get even more dopamine.
Just like I am now – check it:
This is the word count I hit – and for something I wrote during my lunch-time (and one I was happy to write and enjoyed writing) – I’m competing against other writers and myself at a level I’ve never competed at before 😛