Nothing brings a person’s performance down like being overconfident. The moment you underestimate your competition, chances are you’re going to emerge a loser.
While confidence is a key ingredient of success, taking victory for granted can have disastrous consequences for you. How should you avoid this?
The first step to preparing for any contest is to assess your strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your opponents. Doing so will help you understand what you’re up against, the areas where you need to put in more effort and at the same time, give you the confidence to perform well. But what is most important is for you to give your competitors their due, and respect their expertise, rather than disregard it altogether.
1 Be realistic: When in a competitive environment, it’s important to evaluate all aspects accurately. Underestimating or even over-estimating your competition can have negative consequences.
2 Acknowledge others’ accomplishments: Yes, mind games are a part of almost every competition. But at the same time, it’s important to appreciate the quality of work done, even if it is by someone at the other end.
3 Do not mimic: We all have our sets of strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to celebrate the uniqueness. Do not blindly copy everything your competition does.
4 Set personal targets: Your competitors’ performance can never be in your control and, therefore, it’s important not to let others’ success bring you down. Be your own benchmark and set your goals.
5 Learn from others: Instead of only criticising or finding faults with your rival, there are always things you can learn from others’ experience. Keep an eye on the way your competitor works and use it as an opportunity to improve your performance.
6 Use competition as a motivator: Nothing compels us to excel the way a contest does. Competition can be a great source of motivation, utilise it to perform to your fullest potential.
7 Don’t get personal: While it’s great to have a competitive spirit, make sure you restrict this attitude only to the arena. Do not make rivalries personal, respect others as individuals.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare