5 Ways Competition Can Improve Your Life

August 17th, 2009

Trophy WinnerCould you use a little more purpose and excitement? Even if you’re not athletic, participating in competition can add unique value to your life that you may never experience otherwise.

I’m an avid tennis player and play in a very competitive and organized nationwide league that’s run by the United States Tennis Association. The league is divided into 17 sections throughout the country and each section is divided into regions. Each region has a number of teams at each skill level that compete throughout the year for a spot at their sectional tournament. The winner of each section then advances to a national tournament.

I belong to the Eastern section, which consists of 6 regions including all of New York state and the northern portion of New Jersey. This past season, my team won our region, and for the first time, I had the chance to play in a sectional tournament this past weekend. In addition to having a great time, the weekend was an excellent representation of the value that competing can provide.

I’ve been a competitive athlete throughout most of my life, and to this day, it continues to be an important source of fulfillment for me. The following are 5 of the more significant reasons why I think competition adds value to my life and why it can add value to yours as well.

Competition Builds Motivation

Although winning isn’t everything, it’s certainly nice and is one of the primary objectives of competing. The desire to win often inspires a unique and intense source of motivation to improve your abilities. In regard to sports, most elite and professional athletes would have never achieved their level of ability without the desire that motivated them to practice and train regularly. This type of drive applies to anything in life and is often what separates the people who’ve achieved impressive goals from those who haven’t.

I regularly work at improving my tennis game, but recently increased my training efforts for this past weekend’s tournament. Having added incentive like this is likely to make you work harder towards your goals and will greatly increase your chances of achieving them.

Competition is an Opportunity to Challenge Yourself

I get a lot of satisfaction from intense physical and mental challenges. I find it to be invigorating and have plenty of opportunity to engage in such challenges through tennis, especially through my participation in such a competitive league.

At the sectional tournament this past weekend, I played 5 matches in 3 days. The competition was very tough and I lost the first 4. After each match, I became more disappointed and fatigued, but also more determined. Winning the 5th match was extremely satisfying and the high level of competition I encountered throughout the tournament will undoubtedly increase my inspiration to improve. Outside of such a competitive atmosphere, it’s highly unlikely that I would have had this experience and gained the resulting inspiration.

Competition is Expression of Passion and a Source of Fulfillment

Many of us have at least one favorite activity that we’re passionate about. Competition can bring the enjoyment of such an activity to a new level. One of the most exciting things in life is having a significant goal to chase aggressively. This sense of engagement that competition can promote is often referred to as “the process” and is often a very enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

Andre Agassi is well known among serious tennis fans for saying that his love for the sport is fueled by the process of becoming the best player he can be. In order to be successful, most athletes, including tennis players, must be physically fit, mentally tough, strategical, and obviously, highly skilled at the mechanics of their sport. The increased emphasis that competition puts on these attributes makes them even more enjoyable to improve upon and makes the resulting progress more fulfilling. Although tennis is only one of my several passions, it has never failed to provide me with challenging goals to chase.

Competition Adds Excitement to Exercising

A lack of sufficient physical activity is a common problem for many people, even those who occasionally participate in recreational sports. Participating in an organized league will likely encourage you to spend more time doing an activity that you already enjoy, and as such, will result in you being more physically active. In addition, the competition may inspire you work on your fitness which will improve your performance, health, and resistance to pain and injury all at once.

Competition Builds Friendship

Participating in competition usually involves being a member of a team and will likely introduce you to new people who share your interest. Furthermore, the sense of struggle and challenge that is often a part of competition tends to promote bonding between teammates. In some cases, such as my trip to the sectional tournament, competing can create fun travel opportunities which will likely strengthen friendships among teammates even further. Many of the friendships I enjoy today are a direct result of my involvement with competitive tennis.

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