The Echoes of the Mind – Competition


Competition engenders a greater threat to self-esteem than a noncompetitive setting. The focus becomes one’s own level of contribution and differentiating personal performance from a competitor’s.

A feeling of status affects self-esteem, especially in a competitive setting: peers feel more threatened and readily engage in self-serving bias. High-status participants are not motivated toward social comparison with subordinates, and so feel less threatened. Either way, competition lessens camaraderie.

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By virtue of grading and stratification, public education is a competitive exercise. Failing tattoos a stigma.

It is a common practice for schools to refuse graduation to a student who fails at any level. Especially at early age, the psychological scarring of failure can have long-term consequences.

Primary-grade retention reduces the odds of completing high school by about 60%. ~ American sociologist Megan Andrew

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People generally think that strangers they encounter online are probably just like them. But when cast as competitors, such as on auction sites, strangers are no longer assumed to share traits or values.

When you’re competing against people you don’t know, you assume that these strangers aren’t similar to you. ~ American marketing professor Rebecca Naylor

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If teams work side by side, women tend to perform better and even outperform men – they’re more creative. As soon as you add the element of competition though, the picture changes. It’s the way society views women and the way we view competition, gender specific: it changes behaviors and outcomes. ~ German sociologist Markus Baer

There are no positive psychological or sociological aspects of competition that are not overshadowed by the negatives. There is no such thing as “healthy” competition. Overall, competition is mentally, morally, and socially destructive. The psychic and cultural effects of capitalism and democracy, both competitive exercises, are corrosive.

Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people. ~ American businessman David Sarnoff