Competition Is for Chumps

Hear me out.

While some people think competition is well worth the punishment, there’s a case to be made that competition is for chumps.

Competition is stress. The body and mind typically fails under stress. Soul and faith is tested. Relationships degrade and IQ drops. In short, competition kills.

Woman Holding Her Head
Stress from

Doesn’t that mean those that can deal with and survive stress are better? The fittest? The opposite – those that survive competition either overpowered the opposition with minimal cost or were so weakened they are consumed by another overpowering force. Competition is only for those already fit above and beyond their competitors; anything else is destruction.

Something as small-scale as an argument between colleagues (a competition of who’s correct) is detrimental. What happens if you win an argument? You lose, having possibly damaged the relationship between you and the other. What if you lose? You lose, ego bruised, stature likely downgraded in the sight of the colleague, and you run the risk of public humiliation. Competition gave you nothing despite you ‘surviving’.

Remember the Cold War from 30 years ago? A sense of competition that couldn’t be helped during World War 2 bled over into the years after. During that time, the world saw the greatest increase of weapons production ever.

Men in Black and Red Cade Hats and Military Uniform
Russian soldiers from

From the display between the US and Soviet Russia, at best, we have a destabilized Middle East, a proliferation of nuclear weapons, and ongoing tensions. It could have been worse. The Cold War nearly got “hot” multiple times (Korean War, Sputnik, Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis, any number of James Bond films), the consequences of which would have been the end of human civilization.

Why did we approach our own extinction? Competition. Capitalism vs. Communism. East vs. West. My army is bigger than your army.

So what do you do if faced with competition?

As mentioned, one must end it quickly by being absolutely overpowering by at least a magnitude (eg a competition of 1 requires you to be a 10). This can happen by letting other competitors go at it until you swoop in to take what’s left. However, whatever is being competed over will suffer (think of a football), leaving you with less, requires patience, and in no way guarantees success (there could be a magnitude 10 still left compared to your 1).

You can still win, though. When faced with competition, decline to compete.

Here’s a few ways how:

Kick Chess Piece Standing
Chess pieces from

Back Down, Rise Up

Backing down can be deemed as a weakness. This is only the pride of the moment getting in the way of any goal, or at the foundation, survival.

Say a person wants to take the lead on a project that you could also easily lead. You could use your skills or position already as a leader to squash their ambition. Or, you could let them take the lead so long as there’s no obvious threat to you. Do the latter.

With the other person as leader, they will do one of two things. First, they might prove themselves a fine and capable person, improving the situation for both yourself and others. If the first option fails, they will fail, taking the fall in your stead, no matter the reason. Should the second event come, it allows you to rise up to take charge again, hopefully also having a large amount of work done. Additionally, with a bit of compassion, you can improve the relationship with the person who tried and failed, but only because you didn’t butt heads in competition!

Secure Your Niches

It goes back to that “order of magnitude” thing. Leave where there is competition to secure where this is none (10 to 0!). That’s a niche.

Should you be so lucky as to be a first mover you gain momentum over any incoming competitors to your niche. It doesn’t prevent you from being displaced (there were Ubers before Uber), but it makes it a lot harder to be uprooted and still allows you to find more niches in the future.

On a global scale, a country could dominate any number of areas: tourism, ecology, education, shipping, infrastructure, computer science, production, military, diplomacy, art, writing, population, language, service, etc! The people of a country suffers when that country tries its best that’s only as good as some other country’s worst. Such is competition.

Grayscale Photography of Human Skull
Skull from


Competition is detrimental to you, others, and your goals. Even an order of magnitude advantage over other competitors only goes so far.

If something really must happen that involves competition, I encourage you to check your expectations.

Otherwise, consider letting others take the charge for you. Or better yet, compete against nothing after discovering your own niche.

History is full of competition. I’d like to see anything but the most dire cases not also causing suffering. From others’ examples, I’ll decline most all competition because “[…] doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is for chumps.

Published by

Jimmy Chattin

Processor of data, applier of patterns, maker of games and stories.

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