Who doesn’t have a competitor? Whether you’re a student, a 9-5 job worker, an entrepreneur or an artist, there is always at least one person whose skill is just about your level, who you want to beat.
If you don’t find such a person in any aspect of your life that you want to improve on, you probably need to shift to another place. Why? Because competition is what motivates you to improve. It gives you the drive to be better than you are at present.
Imagine a workplace where you are the best and no one is at your par. Would you have the constant urge to prove yourself to the people who already know you are the best? Or would you adapt to your surroundings and lose your edge? It’s most likely the latter.
Now imagine the opposite situation. If you are working in a place where most people are ambitious and at least as skilled as you are, if not more, wouldn’t you have more interest in sharpening your skills, looking for problems, coming up with creative solutions and exhibiting your prowess?
All skills need maintenance. You will only keep sharpening your edge if you are surrounded by sharp people. If not, the surrounding dullness will make you appear sharp by comparison and you will become dull in time because you failed to sharpen yourself frequently. For this reason, it’s good to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
Even if your competitor is Machiavellian, there is a bright side. They show you your own true colors on how you react to unfair challenges. You’ll get to know whether you take revenge or forgive and forget. After all, hard times bring out our true characters (I know, I’m hopelessly optimistic).