Would you believe Olympic athletes who win bronze medals tend to be happier than those who win the silver? Research on the world’s biggest sporting spectacle offers lessons on how to deal with winning and losing.
Studies show that second place winners rate their experience as being less satisfying than those who came in third. It appears that silver medalists focus on nearly missing the gold, while bronze medalists take pride in their performance.
Learn how to enjoy the game of life whether you win or lose on any given day. Try these tips for coping with the thrill of victory and the learning that comes with temporary defeats.
Healthy Competition in the Workplace
Of course, you’re more likely to work in an office than play Olympic sports, so your issues may look a little different from the average gymnast. Still, it’s important to distinguish between friendly rivalry and being cutthroat.
1. Accept your feelings. Maybe you feel embarrassed by your competitive drive. Remember that it’s natural to be ambitious, but you can decide how to channel it.
2. Have fun. You can have a good time while you’re earning a living. Look for the humor in office politics and turn routine tasks into a game.
3. Help each other. While you’re pursuing your own objectives, pay attention to the rest of the team. Volunteer your assistance when a colleague is carrying a heavy load. Praise a coworker for their contribution to successful group projects.
4. Be specific. It’s easier to evaluate your progress when you have a clear definition of success. Examine your values and focus your energy on your top priorities.
5. Keep learning. Competition benefits you when you’re increasing your skills and knowledge. Sign up for training opportunities at work. Take online courses and subscribe to the leading publications in your industry.
6. Lighten up. Are you in a high-pressure field? Make time for cooperative activities where you can relax without feeling judged.
Healthy Competition Anywhere
While competition may be more intense in your career activities, it can color your personal life too.
Protect your peace of mind and relationships with these ideas:
1. Compare down. Thinking about how you measure up to those with more money or fame can leave you feeling depressed. Try considering those less fortunate so you can recognize your blessings and put things in perspective.
2. Put forth effort. If the idea of competition makes you feel nervous, fix your mind on your own hard work. You may find yourself taking on adventures you once shied away from.
3. Try again. You’re a winner as long as you find satisfaction in persevering. Use setbacks as an opportunity for learning and growth.
4. Make back-up plans. On the other hand, it may be time to shift gears if you’re feeling burned out. You may want to give yourself five years to write a novel or travel the world before you turn to other options.
5. Provide a role model. Our attitude about competition starts in childhood. Think about what you’re teaching your sons and daughters. Let them know you love them regardless of their performance. Build their confidence and curiosity.
6. Rejoice for others. The downside of competition disappears when you can enjoy other’s victories as much as your own. Celebrate when a friend wins a promotion or lucks out on the lottery.
Strike a balance between competitive drive and team spirit. Create your own definition of success where you help each individual feel like a winner while you work to beat your own past record.