There seems to be no shortage of unethical means of destroying the opponent. We have seen competitive sabotage through false advertising, reputation bashing, and now death threats.
In a positive and amicable environment competition is good for us, it builds character and encourages us to be the best version of ourselves.
In a negative, dysfunctional environment, where a leader, coach or parent creates a hostile foundation for competition, the participant becomes stressed, anxious, and paranoid. It becomes a breeding ground for social anxiety where fear-based realities thrive.
It’s no surprise the competitive environment President Donald Trump created has resulted in violent, unethical, and combative behavior. His competitive strategy is to use status and tribal awareness to motivate is base.
With his winning at all costs mentality, we have seen the increased activity of extremist groups and homegrown terror where individuals are encouraged to maintain their hierarchal order and competitive edge through violence, death threats, and force.
It is time to work towards healing the PTSD of Trumps Competitive Environment.
Reduce The Pressure of Winning At All Costs
The pressure from a ‘Winning at All Costs’ environment leaves us inflamed with rage, stress, anger, anxiety, and fear because we aren’t aware of the real costs.
‘Winning at all costs’ has, a not only a human cost but a societal cost.
In September 2015, Entrepreneur contributor Ray Hennessey wrote, Winning at All Costs is Not True Leadership.
He points out how the ancient Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote:
“Silent leges inter arma.”
Translation: “In times of arms, laws are silent.”
Suggesting that winning has no rules. Ignore laws to get what you want. Conquer at all costs. Total war.
It’s important for our leaders to inspire our society to consciously work towards a common goal, through healthy competition, and not fight or force winning without rules or consequences.
Let’s understand the pressure of winning at all costs are driven by fear-based leaders who want you to sacrifice your soul so they can remain on top. The fear isn’t yours. Placing pressure on yourself is your choice.
Frame Solutions For a Positive Competitive Environment
The type of competitive environment you create affects decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation. It affects the well-being of an entire culture and can determine longevity.
Creating a healthy competitive environment starts with how you frame your competition.
Humans have cognitive biases, and if we frame a situation, especially a competitive, motivated one, from a fear of loss, we get triggered easily and react.
When Enron created a “war-like” environment within its organization and against its competition it backfired into unethical behavior that eventually caused the collapse of the entire organization.
We see this in our current political environment. President Trump has framed the Republican competition, the Democrats, as evil, extreme, and dangerous. The results of creating this type of negative and unhealthy competitive environment have been disastrous.
Neuromarketers know they get the best results and make the biggest impact if they express the risk in negative terms, but present the solution in positive framing.
Donald Trump could frame his Democratic competitors by saying, “1 out of 10 Democrats are evil, or 90% of all Democrats are wonderful people.”
“Even though Democrats want universal healthcare we can’t afford not to work with them.”
Reduce Competitive Burnout
Non-stop competition can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. When an individual reaches this point, they are burned out.
Signs of Competitive Burnout are:
Giving up or wanting to quit
Competitive burnout symptoms are not only a cause for concern with over-trained athletes but with executives and individuals who are addicted to competition.
The addiction to competition can have diminishing returns by causing individuals to distort their perceptions and sabotage their own success.
You can observe this within the current competitive political race. Individuals are reactive and perceptions of reality are tainted.
To identify the signs of competitive burnout individuals must be aware of how they feel when they are competing and where their personal energy deficits are coming from.
When you are in a competitive environment are you recharged or drained? Do you focus on the fear of failure? Are you drained when you lose? Do you worry about losing?
Take a Competitive Detox
The goal of any type of detox is to eliminate any harmful substances, impurities, and toxins.
Our society has been a prisoner of a highly toxic competitive environment that is undermining our success. We are crying out to reset and rethink how we look at competition and cooperation. We are in desperate need of a Competitive Detox.
Similar to a physical body detox, where you need to prepare the body and eliminate possible toxins, a competitive detox starts with identifying your toxic beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors around competition.
1. Identifying beliefs and thoughts about competition
Do I believe I have to win all the time?
What is my fear of failure?
Is my family competitive?
Is my self-worth measured by winning?
Do I believe I am better than someone if I win?
2. Identify Competitive Behaviors
Do you frame the competition as evil, bad, or inferior?
Do you get agitated or triggered when you are losing?
Do you call the other team or competitor names?
Do you physically throw or punch objects when you know you are losing?
Do you lose focus on yourself and focus on your competition?
3. Identify how your body feels when you are competing?
Do you feel anxious or stressed?
Does your vision change when competing?
Does your neck, back, or shoulders experience pain?
Take time out to remove the competitive toxins from your environment and bring new energy into your life.
Competition can have a positive outcome IF the environment supports humility, empathy, morality, fairness, and understanding.
It’s important to understand how easily our minds can be manipulated by leaders who have a ‘winning at all costs’ mindset and create a competitive environment which breeds fear.
We have the opportunity to evolve as a society to understand that competition shouldn’t come from a place of fear, a place of revenge, or a place of hate. We can come from a place of love, set our own path, and find a new way.
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