There is a misconception that competition is bad; that self-esteem will be affected if a child loses. BUT to lose, is not to be a Loser. If a child can experience the thrill of winning and the disappointment of losing early in life through competitive sports, they will be well equipped for the reality of life.
Competition provides motivation to achieve a goal; to demonstrate determination, creativity and perseverance to overcome challenges; and to understand that hard work and commitment leads to a greater chance of success.
Life is full of situations where there are winners and losers: a sports game; getting a job; bidding on a contract; not getting into the desired college. Children need to learn how to cope with disappointment and to be able to genuinely appreciate the good fortune, talents and abilities of the “winner” and then look forward to the next opportunity to try again.
Competition teaches us to dig deep and find resources we never knew we had; provides us with the opportunity to think outside the box and explore other ways to succeed. The pressure to win or succeed can often inspire more imaginative thinking and inspires us to develop additional skills.
Yes it’s true that “winning isn’t everything” and we definitely need to teach our kids about teamwork and provide them with a positive learning environment and to have fun, BUT we have taken things too far when every child makes the team and every child gets a pat on the back or a trophy, regardless of their effort, commitment or skills. We are stripping away the desire to triumph over challenges and to value excellence and hard work. In our efforts to ensure our children have good self-esteem, we are creating adults who have a sense of entitlement and do not know the meaning of hard work and commitment, nor the joy and sense of the accomplishment of overcoming a challenge, solving a problem and achieving success.
We need to instill a winning attitude: A drive for excellence and victory. Instilling this winning attitude is one of the goals of a good coach. When a child learns that given the right attitude they can succeed at whatever they set their hearts and mind to, it can have an overwhelmingly positive impact on their self-esteem and on their future. Without healthy competition the concept of a winning attitude doesn’t exist and the incredible potential within our children is lost.
The lessons learned through sport are always valuable life lessons. Always! Just as competition is important in sports so that athletes develop their highest potential and set goals and reach higher than their competition, the same holds true for business. Competition brings huge benefits to business owners: it ensures you do not become complacent in your business operations; it motivates you to become more creative; it puts the pressure on to improve your product or service. Competitors force you out of your comfort zone and make you work harder to stay visible. You must admire your competitors’ business successes and let that be an inspiration to improve your own. Whatever you do, do not imitate your competitors, you’ll never win. Be unique; be creative; do more; do better; be one step ahead.
The lesson through sport, is extended to life – do not fear competition, value its influence on you – it inspires people to greatness…and we all win!