There are many ways to motivate oneself, but sometimes none of them work. Keeping yourself on task and working towards a goal can get tough at times and having something to keep you going, can make all the difference. One source of motivation can be found from an obvious, yet often overlooked source: competition.
Having something or someone to compete against completely changes the dynamic of your work. It overcomes complacency, inspires urgency, and pushes you to be better.
When you know you’re up against another individual or organization or team, you take pride in every aspect of the process. You hustle and work and struggle to be the best. Knowing that your competition is doing the same.
Unfortunately, we rarely face the prospect of competition in our daily lives. Sure it can be present in sports and school and at times the workplace, but it’s far from common. Even so, it seems silly to not take advantage of the dynamics of competition, especially when we’re in need of a kick in the pants.
A simple solution that I’ve started to put into practice is manufacturing competition to keep myself on point.
The process looks a little something like this.
1. Identify Your Goal
The simple part is identifying the goal that you are working towards. What are you trying to accomplish, but are struggling with or procrastinating on? Writing a book? Learning to code? Building an app? Getting in shape? Sticking to a diet?
It can literally be anything that you’re striving to achieve. The fun part comes next.
2. Pick a Fight
Not literally of course. The idea is to identify someone or something that you can compete with. This is someone whose already got their sh*t together or perhaps even someone who has slighted you in some way.
For example, find someone you know (or don’t) that is doing big things in their life. Sure, you should be happy for them, but you should also say to yourself, I can do that, but better. Maybe your friend has just written a book, yet you’re struggling with yours. That’s a perfect target.
On the other hand, you can use rejection as your competition. The whole “I’ll show you!” line of thinking can be a powerful motivator. Perhaps you didn’t get hired for a job or get rejected by a publisher or an investor. There’s certainly no shortage of haters out there that you can prove wrong.
The point is to manufacture a sense of competition in your mind that can push you forward. Let me say again, you’re not publicly picking a fight and those you create competition with shouldn’t even know that’s what’s going on. This is for you and you alone. It’s a fight that’s playing out in your mind.
Now that you’ve got a goal and a competitor, all that is left is to do the work.
Put your head down and push towards your goal. Whenever you get distracted or lose your willpower, remind yourself about your competitor. Think about what they accomplished and how they probably worked harder than you are (which may not be true, but so what).
You’re trying to create a narrative that will get you back on point. A story to remind yourself of what you’re up against and that you have to hustle everyday to keep pace and win.
I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.
It may sound silly, but competition can be a key component to achieving greatness. Having a clearly defined competitor gives you something to strive for and surpass. Without someone to go up against, we can lose our way or our desire to get our work done.
If you’ve got a project that you’re struggling with or you’re lacking urgency with your work, maybe the solution is to find a competitor. It might just spark the fire you need.