Competition: Is it all in your head?

Section I. 

Competition. One word, carrying multiple connotations. Throughout our lives, we are driven by competition, by the success of others. Competition can be a beautiful and healthy concept. It can encourage us to strive to become our best selves, but there is a point where competition can be a dangerous game to play, and sometimes we end up hurting ourselves, and others, in the end. In this article, we will touch on the key points of competition: the psychology, the benefits, and finally the withdrawals. 

Section II. 

Even in this psychological ideology, Charles Darwin doesn’t fail to make yet another appearance outside of your freshman biology class. Competition originated far before any acknowledgement of sports. In “On the Origins of Species,” Darwin claims that humans evolved through something called natural selection. Natural selection is a form of competition between species which results in both a loss and gain from each party. And the reward for winning? Survival. All the way back, we had to compete in order to live. It is practically written into our DNA to compete with one another. And today, competition still reigns a strong dictatorship over all of us. It’s important in our daily lives: the work place, sporting events, even taking  place in large aspects such as the economy. Overall, competition plays an important role in our society, influencing us in unimaginable ways. 

Section III. Benefits 

Competition is responsible for one extraordinarily important idea- unity. It binds people together, encouraging collaboration, participation of all, and acceptance of those around you. Yet, aside from an increased amount of harmony, a little rivalry can become beneficial in many other areas. For one, competition unveils how one works under pressure. Will you rise to the challenge? Or crumble under the burden? Not only do you learn from the moment, but you can take away certain key aspects of competition to help benefit you in the future. You can never truly achieve great success without a few downfalls first, and competition allows you to fail, get up, and try again; important skills that will stick with everyone for the rest of their lives. The journey in competition is important, but we surely cannot forget about the destination. The aim of winning can help motivate us to work harder and smarter. When intrinsic motivation fails, external factors can aid us in achieving our goals, cultivating creativity and innovation along the way. 

Section IV. 

While competition does enhance our ability to connect and communicate with others, it can take a terrible turn through a path of psychological torture. In one study, the University of Missouri concluded that competition activates the reward center and triggers dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in your brain responsible for pleasure and happiness. The more competitive activities one participated in, the more dopamine released, leading to an ongoing cycle of winning and losing. Before long, the idea of inevitable success over others can blind us and turn winning into an addiction. Not only does competition pit us against one another, but it belittles our own confidence. After observing the everlasting success of those around us, we can become discouraged from striving to achieve our goals and greatest desires. All in all, it is important that we pay attention to the benefits and withdrawals of competition. While it can boost team morale and unity, inspiring us to work harder, it can also become a blindfold for our goals and achievements.