There’s nothing wrong with competition when it’s employed in a friendly manner to push one another to greater heights. (your culture) But too often these days, people associate rivalry with aggression and find it difficult to conceive of competition that doesn’t escalate into a free-for-all, with benches in opposing dugouts pouring onto the mound as they do in major league baseball every week or so.
There will always be a place for competition, in athletics, business, and in life. But what must change is the spirit that turns the mere acquisition of points into the number one goal. (your prime focus)
When the extrinsic motivation of competition becomes the basis for our motivation, it drives us away from self-knowledge and self-discovery. This is what over-competitiveness shares with the fear of failure. Both are misplaced motivations, distracting our attention from the big dreams and goals of self-actualization. When we are worried about beating other people, we can’t focus on developing our own potential. We become outer-directed, instead of inner-inspired.
Remember that all motivations arise from the same source…the desire to be satisfied with yourself. Even the fear of failure, in its most basic form, masks a desire to feel good about ourselves — competitiveness also derives from the need for self-esteem.
So, the roots of even these motivations are quite sound. They are present in all of us to some degree. How we frame our desires, and how we define the benefits we expect to receive will determine what drives us forward, and how far it will take us. (your strategy)
By focusing on positive, healthy motivations and letting the more negative ones pass you by, you can purify the source of your imaginative power. The longer you work on it, the easier it will be to frame your motivation toward intrinsic and positive achievement.
Excerpted from The Psychology of Motivation