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Article: Competition is Best Kept to Yourself Related Resources

Competition is Best Kept to Yourself
by Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

Are you 'playing golf' at work? Richard Behrens, Golf Grand Master, says, "Good golf is all in the mind....the golfer's own lower mind, and how the person perceives the situations s/he finds...on the course are the major reasons s/he suffers from unsatisfactory play." It's all in the mental discipline of the game. This mental aspect of 'the game' often eludes players. The same principles that affect your golf shots apply to the workplace. Have you ever talked yourself out of executing a project that is well within your ability to make, or have carried anger with you from another poor situation and had it affect your entire day?

In any game played with others, there is a winner. Either an individual or a team wins. Just about everyone who enters a competition does so with the desire to win. This is healthy and natural, however, if you have a 'need' to win, things change. The need to win drives your mind into the future and away from the matters at hand. This is a problem.

It is impossible to do something for pleasure and have a need to win. That 'need' will eradicate the pleasure of simply doing the activity. How is this applied in the workplace? Hopefully, you enjoy your work. If not, you've already placed yourself in a difficult situation that requires careful reflection.) You want to be there. The tasks interest you. You enjoy the environment and the people...most of the time. Great start! This allows you to look forward to your work and your workplace.

What if you went to work each day with the attitude, "I just have to find ways show everyone that I am better than my peers.?" Oops, trouble ahead. This is the 'need' to win. Doing your work to the best of your ability because you enjoy it and you care about it demonstrates your desire to win. And, just as in golf, you are competing with yourself. Can you do better quality work? Can you pay more attention to details? Can you bring the project in slightly ahead of schedule? Will you take time to be supportive to colleagues? Do you treat folks respectfully? Do you refrain from gossip and bad-mouthing? AND, can you do all that a little better than you did yesterday because you WANT to? Now, that is the desire to win.

Your desire to do your best shows that you are truly on your own team. That's where you want to be--on task and on target with your desire to demonstrate what you value and who you are. You do that by living in integrity with what is important, significant and valuable to you. Your attention is not on showing others up, but, rather, on bringing your best to the workplace.

Excellent golfers play to improve on yesterday's performance. Even when they are playing tournaments, their focus is on doing their best, not on beating others. They keep the fun in their game, too. The best keep their competition to themselves. There's much to be learned from the game of golf. How are you playing?

© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, Founder & Director, The Optimize! Institute, Escondido, CA All rights reserved.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, a noted international speaker and author, is the founder of the Optimize! Institute, and Your Spiritual Home, a worldwide center for Practical Spirituality & Everyday Myth. Her mission is "To uplift, inspire and motivate people worldwide to find joy, peace and success on their own terms". She is the author of Optimize Your Day: Practical Wisdom for Optimal Living and Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work, as well as many other books and audio programs. Rhoberta Shaler, PhD may be contacted at or


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