“Competition is a by-product of productive work, not its goal. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
Ayn Rand, The Moratorium on Brains
I thrive on competition, and am addicted to winning. It gets my juices flowing. But winning is not really the goal. It’s not even the challenge of the game of the moment. It is about what I can create, of myself and the world around me.
Martial artists and musicians have an interesting requirement of being happy with a performance but never content with themselves. We know that there are deeper levels of meaning, more nuance, greater mastery in our art no matter the accolades and applause. These two pursuits focus our attention and sharpen our capabilities in multiple components of our lives, and the discipline needed improves our professional endeavors because the focus on details and ability to repeat over and over to perfect tiny aspects is a differentiating factor in the workplace.
The unrelenting pursuit to achieve Mastery, the never ending kaizen of personal and professional excellence, is the thing that makes the best never content with previous victories and continuously improving because their competition is their best self.