Gianni Versace, the insanely successful artist and businessman once said, “It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better,” and it appears he may have been on to something.
A recent study has found that when we have someone with whom we can compete, it pushes us to perform at higher levels than if we didn’t have that rivalry.
The 13-week study used college students who were assigned a workout regimen. Some students received a workout buddy along with an exercise schedule while others didn’t, and the difference was incredibly clear. Those who had an assigned rival showed more exercise output during the study and encouraged others in their social circle to sign up for similar workout programs.
The finding shows that having a fellow competitor to work alongside will up your game, but it also raises the question of how to keep rivalry healthy.
Still, if competition is your goal, there are easy ways to keep it friendly.
At its core, a rivalry is a relationship. Like any healthy relationship, clear and considerate communication is the key to keeping both people happy.
Using open communication, you and your competitor can establish shared goals as well as expectations for each other. Once that’s settled, be sure to keep things positive by sharing encouragement and any new needs that may evolve as your friendly rivalry does.
2. Play Nice
There’s an important distinction between a rival and an enemy. If you aren’t careful, you may forget the difference and lose sight of the reason the two of you joined forces in the first place.
View your new rival as an untapped resource instead of someone you need to beat. The goal isn’t to defeat each other, but to encourage the growth of your potential.
With that in mind, don’t allow the rivalry to be brought to offensive levels. Remember: Another’s success doesn’t diminish your own, but a bad attitude certainly will.
3. Celebrate a Win
The whole point of healthy competition is improving your performance. When that happens, celebrate. Whether the improvement is on your side or your rival’s, it’s important to give it the props it deserves. Acknowledge growth benefits on both sides of a rivalry by encouraging competitors to raise the bar even higher.
Focusing on the joy found in rivalry makes the competition even more fun, and the more you enjoy it, the more you will want to compete. At that rate, the work put into improving won’t feel like work at all.
Start a healthy competition with someone who will challenge you to do your best and prepare to be amazed by the results of your friendly rivalry.
Bishop T.D. Jakes (GLS 2016, 2010, 2004) is a visionary, provocative thinker and entrepreneur who serves as senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a humanitarian organization and 30,000-member church. Named “America’s Best Preacher” by TIME Magazine, Jakes’ reach and presence spans film, television, radio and books, including the New York Times bestseller, Destiny: Step Into Your Purpose and the film Miracles From Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner. The original post can be found on TDJakes.com here.