The Competition Trap

By: Lorene Belotti, Guest Blogger

It’s no secret that we live in a competitive society. We always have to be efficient, productive, and fast. Even in nursery school. If teachers see a pupil who is a little bit less reactive, they immediately inform his or her parents, which might send the parents running to consult specialists on how to boost the child capacities. This little person is already not enough.
No right to go to our own rhythm, oh no. We all have to do as much as the others, with the main point being, of course, becoming better than others, as soon as possible. That’s the only actual way, we’re told, to be considered as worthy of interest and recognition.

By high school you can already see the damages of such an education. I had a classmate who hid her notes and refused to help us when we couldn’t write what the teacher said fast enough. She also used to run to the library to take books before everyone else and didn’t want to share them with her friends. She was highly competitive and couldn’t bear the idea of not being the best. She was upset if we got a better grade than her instead of being happy for us. I’ve always thought this girl was very sad deep-down.

I’ve learned and witnessed that in the working world, it’s the same song. You always have to be better than the others to be considered a good worker; better than you were last year in order to not be judged as the lazy one who rest on her laurels.

Let’s not forget you private life where you’re regarded as a “cool” person if you have more friends than the others, if you attend bigger parties, if you have “better” romantic partners (taller, richer, more qualified, more attractive, etc…). More, more, and always more!


All these things are incredibly silly. It’s a big joke. I truly believe happiness is on the other side.

I just read an awesome book from Laurent Gounelle (The Philosopher Who Wasn't Wise) and he perfectly explains this phenomenon. Our society makes us believe than we can’t all be loved, that if someone else wins, we lose; if someone has something we don’t, we’re weaker.  We all think that we can be loved ONLY if we have certain intellectual, physical, or behavioral qualities and if we don’t, we’re just losers who don’t deserve anything from the others. Our value has conditional clauses.

Our habit to compare ourselves to others keeps us in a competitive way of thinking for everything: if you have, I don’t have. Add the low self-esteem to this sad cocktail and we all believe that the solution may be within us, but we’re not good enough to find it.
The terrible thing is that we’re all so afraid of not being enough that we experience a kind of release or relief when we see someone else fail. We feel better to know that another human being on this Earth can be unsuccessful, sad, and doubtful, just like we are. We joyfully think: thank God, I’m not alone!

A competitive environment creates jealousy between people, fear of others, and fear of ourselves.

To be totally at ease, people have to evolve in a positive, secure, and benevolent environment. Yes, it’s possible to move on despite feeling that people are against you (even if it’s a struggle most of the time) but you will never be totally satisfied. Feeling that people love you and share a happy moment with you and for you is way more fulfilling.

Never forget the only person you have to compete with is yourself. Instead of waiting for external approval, try to listen to your own, deep desires. This is the road to true serenity and happiness. Answering to people’s expectations will only be more disappointing than you think, especially if you’re not in line with yourself. The first person you should love, respect, and care for is YOU.

About Lorene

lorene.jpgLorene is a French observer and learner of life. She’s been working as a salesperson and a marketing assistant for four years to learn the ropes of the business world. She used to be a sports journalist while doing her Master’s degree and she loves writing and telling stories about great people too much not to go back to her first love soon. She lives in the French Alps, and loves to try to solve the world’s problems while having a great meal with her loved ones. She is passionate about foreign languages, self-development books, American TV shows, and people. Oh, and she’s a total nerd of Academic studies (when she’ll win the lottery, she’ll go to Harvard).





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