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Being Competitive vs Competing

From playing sports my entire life, I know a thing or two about competing. I’ve met a lot of people over the years who were good and I’ve met a lot who weren’t so good. But I always find it amusing when someone says that they are “very competitive”.

But what does being competitive mean? If you look at the definition, you could say that it means being inclined to compete. However, when I look at the idea of being competitive, I think a more suitable definition would be “to compete with a chance of winning”. Or rather, “to be good at the activity you are competing in”.

This relates to the notion of when people talk about playing in a tournament and being competitive. To me that means they have a chance of winning. Can someone be competitive if they aren’t very good or if they don’t have a chance of winning? I don’t think so.

The next time you tell someone you’re “really competitive” think about what you mean when you say that. If you’re referring to something that you’re not good at, just say “I really like doing X activity”. Then, keep practicing until you can say that you’re competitive at that activity.

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