How to be competitive

By Ed Latimore Last modified

Most people think they’re competitive but they aren’t. They just like to win. Everyone likes to win. A true competitor is a rare breed. Enjoying the feeling of crossing the finish line first doesn’t make you competitive.

It’s what happens during the race that ultimately determines if you’re actually a competitor.

Being a winner doesn’t make you a competitor but being a competitor will eventually make you winner. Don’t worry if you aren’t winning as much as you’d like because I’ve got the medicine. Follow this list, and you can win anywhere.


Always give 110 percent

This is the most telling trait of someone that likes to compete instead of just win. A winner just wants to come in first. A competitor wants to test his limits. It doesn’t matter if their ahead of the pack or they are dead last. The most competitive thing I’ve ever seen in sports was the 2007 NFL season where the New England Patriots went undefeated.

It wasn’t just winning all the games that made them competitive; whether they were ahead by 28 points or trailing, they played with a fire the league has never seen. There was no pulling of the quarterback when they were crushing teams by 40 points. It was 110 percent the whole time.

Compare yourself only to your old self

To be competitive you have to come to grips with a simple truth: you are only ever competing against yourself. Outsiders may compare you to other people, but you can only be the best version of yourself. Everyone is a beginner at some point and there is a path to go before you have mastery and greatness.

It’s useless to compare your position on the path to someone else’s because they can’t make you better or worse. Only you can. Competitive people know that at the end of the day, improving their own abilities is all that matters. If their best level is world class, so be it. If not, they know that they gave their all.

Competitive people don’t mind a righteous loss

If you win against a competitive person, they aren’t angry. The loss is bothersome, but it makes them review their strategy. Emotionally, it’s not the terrible heartbreak it is for non-competitive people. This is because a competitor is focused on the process.

They want to win, but they are more concerned with being better. Since they aren’t focused on the outcome of winning, they aren’t as hurt if they take an L while giving their best. On the flip side, competitive people are highly critical of themselves if they win and they know they didn’t perform well.

Competitive people never make excuses

Competitors never make excuses for why they lost. If a competitive person loses, the only thing you hear them talk about is how they have to perform better. No matter what the situation is, they take complete responsibility for the loss.

Competitive people give credit when credit is due

When competitors win, they thank everyone but themselves. Everyone from God, to their coaches, to the people that built the arena and their parents. The competitor takes no credit for himself because he doesn’t need it. Being competitive is the greatest thrill a person can experience because they are constantly overcoming challenges en route to becoming the best version of themselves.

You need people around you to help with that. Praise the members of the team when there is a victory. Likewise, win or lose, the competitor never takes anything away from his opponent. If he wins, the opponent put up a good fight. If he lost, the opponent put up a better fight. But he’ll be back another day.

The competitor never dwells on the past

Competitors don’t care about past laurels because for them, it was never about the winning. Non-competitive people are always referencing what success they’ve had before because they care only about winning.

Competitive people rarely reference past accomplishments. The competitor is always looking to the future and how much better he can become. What you’ve done is irrelevant. All that matters is what you’re going to do.