Many of us think it’s bad to be competitive. In particular some women have been brought up to think competitiveness is aggressive. It’s certainly the opposite of being collaborative and supportive. It’s not what nice girls do.
But competitiveness and collaboration can co-exist. And subordinating your competitive spirit can lock you out of success.
My parents once sent me to a pony club camp. Yup, I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. It wasn’t an aristocratic, land-owning type of upbringing, just a middle-class lifestyle in a very rural area.
On the final day, there was to be a race. I said I wasn’t going to participate. My dad was a bit shocked. Her asked me why I wouldn’t ‘join in with the fun’. I said it was because I wasn’t going to win. I was one of the youngest children there, and my pony was small.
My dad said ‘It’s the taking part that matters.’ ‘No’, I replied, ‘it’s the winning that counts.’ And I refused to enter the race.
My father was from a generation that believed in being part of a team, and joining in. For whatever reason I didn’t have those values, and they’ve stayed with me. It may be an unattractive trait in some people’s eyes. But if you want to create change, you have to make it happen. It requires determination.
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