Competition is Out of Control

Is competition war?

We are bombarded by war. Get it? Everywhere we turn we are assualted by similes and metaphors of war. The war on drugs, the war on poverty, we even battle cancer… the reference to war and violence has us surrounded on the battlefields of life and business.

Often, competition is expressed in terms of conflict and aggression. Here is a list of synonyms for conflict:

  • battle
  • clash
  • combat
  • competition
  • rivalry
  • strife
  • struggle
  • war

Here is a list of synonyms for competition:

  • championship
  • clash
  • event
  • fight
  • game
  • match
  • meeting
  • race
  • rivalry
  • sport
  • struggle
  • tournament
  • trial

competition conflistWhat are the origins of the word competition?

First there is the Latin ‘com’ – together

Then the Latin root verb peto – I seek, aim at, desire.

And from peto we get petere – I attack

Already, we are at war!

The original sense of competition was to come (‘face-to-face’) together with a rival to help you do your best. The competition provided a counterforce for you to test the limits of your skills and abilities.

When we reduce competition to a conflict between winners and losers, we lose an opportunity enjoy the real value of the competition.

“Companies that solely focus on competition will die. Those that focus on value creation will thrive.”  – Edward de Bono