How Can Competition and Jealousy Affect Your Goals?

You might not be feeling it right now, but competition is hardwired into all of us. It's a natural part of life that we can't escape from. If you've ever felt jealousy or envy watching somebody else's success, even if for just a second, then your competitive spirit was probably activated in some way!

The word competition is in the center and in red. There are a bunch of words in grey around it that are related, such as success, teamwork, money, etc.

How competition can help you Succeed

It is natural to feel a tug of envy or self-doubt when you see someone else succeeding. It is also very common for people to be in competition with one another. This can have a negative effect on your own goals and ambitions. That makes it important to know how competition and jealousy affect your goals. There are some things that you can do if the competitive feelings are getting out of hand. You can set boundaries with others about what behaviors cross the line. Spending more time around like-minded individuals who will support your goals is a great option. Taking care of yourself physically by eating well and exercising regularly is a must. Recognizing that there is plenty enough success for everyone (and don't make other people's successes into failures). Seek help from friends or family members.

A blue sky with some clouds for a background. There's a yellow caution sign that says Warning, competition ahead.

Using your competitive spirit for good

Before we go any further in our discussion about jealousy, there is one thing to bear in mind; there are two types of people who participate in what they might call “jealousy." The first type would be those more inclined toward feeling jealous when someone else achieves something better than them—the second group tend to view competitiveness from their peers as being beneficial for themselves because it can push them forward on achieving goals just like theirs. Let's look at Jane and Mary for example...

A white woman with brown hair, wearing a peach long-sleeved shirt and white pants is sitting on a couch. She's looking down with her eyes mostly closed and her left hand up by her temple.

Jane was sitting on the couch, scrolling through Facebook, and came across a post her friend Daphne made. This particular friend, while being born into great wealth, worked very hard as a real estate agent, and was posting about her latest European vacation. Jane was upset when she saw this post, thinking to herself, "This just isn't fair! I work my butt off and can barely make ends meet, while my friend has had everything handed to her!"

A white woman with short brown hair is wearing a blue and white vertical striped shirt, sitting on a beige couch.  She is holding a phone and appears to be scrolling through it.

Mary was also scrolling through Facebook and came across Daphne's post. Mary is also struggling financially and is barely able to keep up with the bills each month. However, when she saw the post, her thought process was different. She thought, "I wish I had what she has! I know Daphne and her family made their money in real estate. I'm going sign up for real estate courses and learn everything about it so years down the road I'll be as successful."

Life is what you make of it

In the above examples, both would like to obtain Daphne's status and fortunes. Jane is practicing sheer unadulterated jealousy which leads her to rationalize that the rich get richer while she remains poor herself. In her eyes life just isn't fair and there's nothing she can do about it.

There's a red target in the middle with 4 circles around it. There are 6 figures of people, each a different color, who look like they are running to the target. There are arrows from each person to the target.

On the flip side, Mary recognizes that Daphne is a savvy businesswoman from her real estate ventures. Sure, she might have had an unfair head start with wealth inherited from her family, but anyone could potentially learn the market and take their own slice of the pie if they were determined enough. She's embracing her competitive spirit. Mary wants what Daphne has so she’s going to do her best to stake out a claim for herself.

In the above examples, both women would like to obtain Daphne's status and fortunes. Jane is practicing sheer unadulterated jealousy which leads her to rationalize that the rich get richer while she remains poor herself. In her eyes life just isn't fair so there's nothing she can do about it. But Mary's approach is one that will actually yield results.

A white man with brown hair is facing a black bald man. They are both on the floor, on all fours, facing each other, looking determined.

Turn that envy into action

It can be easy to envy the things that other people have, but if you convert your desires into an honest plan to match their achievements then it is a clear step towards being a more successful person.

Something else to keep in mind is that being competitive doesn't mean you work in isolation or against others. If you see something that you want, an object, a lifestyle, a job, you're not competing against whoever has those things to get them yourself. It's more about using your motivation and inborn competitiveness to reach that goal and get what you want. To do this however you will likely benefit from working with others, rather than against them. No matter what your goal is, helping others along the way will help you.

So reach for your goals and desires. Embrace and nurture your inner competitive spirit so that it guides you to reach your goals.

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