Should We Encourage The Competitive Edge

We live in a world today that is very much dog eat dog, and in the business, sport or in fact any path we take in our lives, it has a competitive edge to get ahead or finish first, or top of the pile. This is the way the world has evolved.

There was a time when it was natural to just take part without the fear of not winning. It didn’t matter where we finished and we didn’t need reminding, it’s the taking part that matters, which we are now on a regular basis reminded of by schools or educational authorities. Some schools even have no winning sports days, which in my opinion is seriously ridiculous because life in general always has winners and losers. It’s the nature of being a human being.

While I was thinking about all of this, I was thinking to myself, are we actually doing our children an injustice? Are we really educating them properly? Shouldn’t they know that the world is a very tough and hard place to be living in, in the 21st century? People will knock you down and climb over you to get to the top. The thing is are we putting them in a bubble, and telling them that everybody will happily watch you beat them and pat you on the back with a well done!

The truth is we are all very uptight with this political correctness that has become the staple diet of our society. There are many people out there who think that we should be creating a totally level-fair society, and the truth of the matter is that this doesn’t exist.

I decided a long time ago when my eldest child was just a toddler, and she is now 22 years old, that I would instill in all my children that winning is important, because life is tough, very tough and if you want to get ahead you have to have a competitive edge, and learn a winning mentality. It’s vital that you learn this at a young age, otherwise you could just get trampled in the crowd as an adult.

I give no excuses that I teach my children a winning mentality, because whatever their chosen path in life, whatever career they chose they will need drive, ambition, a little bit of talent and a very competitive edge, so it’s vital that our children learn to have a winning mentality to succeed in life. because the world gets tougher by the year.

I will also say that it’s important that they learn to take defeat in their stride, and in a gracious manner, because no matter how good you are, there will always be somebody better.

Let’s prepare our children to take on the world. What do you think, I would love to hear your thoughts.

26 thoughts on “Should We Encourage The Competitive Edge

  1. I definitely agree that kids need to know that life isn’t fair and they have to work hard and practice to be good. Bosses won’t care why something couldn’t get done. I also agree that kids need to be taught to accept defeat, a thing that seems to be lacking in many parents today. I see so many parents quick to excuse why their child couldn’t/wouldn’t/can’t do something. We need to teach them how to succeed by utilizing their talents and working on their weaker skills. #ThatFridayLinky

  2. Your post reminds me of Uncle Henry from ‘A Good Year’
    “A man should acknowledge his losses as gracefully as he celebrates his victories. Someday, Max, you’ll come to see that a man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however can elicit great wisdom” #ThatFridayLinky

  3. Sounds like a fairly realistic approach to me. The “every child gets a medal” mentality has never sat well with me, I don’t think it does anything to help build a robust self-esteem. I particularly like that you teach your children to take defeat in their stride. That is something that is sometimes overlooked. #ThatFridayLinky

  4. Me and my wife are definitely Generation X, we aren’t comfortable with the likes of a “no winning sports day”. While i’m definitely not a “Win at all costs” kind of person, I don’t want my girls to be snowflakes, I want them to value competition so they enjoy winning as well as accepting defeat gracefully. #ThatFridayLinky

  5. Really interesting points and something I’ve thought about regularly with my kids. It’s a difficult one to give a straight answer to! #thatfridaylinky

  6. I’m very competitive. In South Africa, competition in schools is still encouraged, but the whole ‘it’s not about winning, it’s about taking part’ is also preached, alongside the competition. So far I’m happy with the balance, but my husband and I are naturally competitive people so our girls will be raised accordingly. I agree that we need to prepare them for the fact that you won’t just get given a job, you will have to work for it, be the best, compete for it. They need to know that. I actually wrote a post last year – what happened to competition. This is a topic I am passionate about.

  7. Ooh this is a good one. I always encourage Ella to try hard and do her best. With things like sports day it IS the winning that counts and life is very competitive so it’s important kids realise that. Thanks for hosting #thatfridaylinky

  8. I agree but it’s something my wife and I have different views on. Our son is very competitive about everything (like me apparently) which I think is important but my wife doesn’t. I guess it’s finding the balance about being competitive over the right things #thatfridaylinky

  9. I do agree, but I also feel it’s important to strike a balance. Both my girls have been taught to work hard at everything they do, but also to acknowledge that there are others who struggle and to be compassionate, encouraging and supportive. Both my girls are academically gifted and more often than not come top in maths and science particularly, but if ever I found them gloating over those who didn’t do so well, I would be disappointed. I think what I’m trying to say is that I want them to be competitive with themselves and to be the best they can. #ThatFridayLinky xx

  10. There’s nothing wrong with being competitive and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to win – that’s what I teach our girls. On sports day I want them to do well and they want to do well. At out local 10k race I want them to do well in the junior races and they want to do well. Our younger two do dance festival competitions – I want them to do well and they want to do well, in fact they want to win. They haven’t yet won, they’ve placed and they used that disappointment to go away and practice to do better. That is the mentality I want in my children and I make no apology for that.

  11. I think it’s more a matter of instilling the need in our kids to work hard, and persevere in their endeavours, especially in school where not every subject comes easily to them. It’s much easier to stick with the things we like and are good at. It’s more important to not give up when things get a little tough, and to accept that your best does not always work out in other’s eyes, but once you are doing your utmost, it’s okay. And you can be competitive and resilient, but it’s not good if you are unkind or unfair . to your fellow man. #ThatFridayLinky

  12. It’s a hard balance to get isn’t it? I want my kids to be prepared for the real world and that does mean being competitive but I also don’t want them to think that anything short of winning is unacceptable or that you have to trample on other people on the way up. My eldest gets very anxious about “failing” which can put her off trying at all so at the moment we’re working on getting her to accept that you can’t be great at everything straight away but have to work at it to get better.

  13. I think schools should remove the ‘no winning’ thing, I think it’s a bit far perhaps. But at a certain age, children need to have a ‘no winning’ way of doing things as it just creates upset (from my experience). As they get older, I think having a balance is important. It’s important to get them to understand that winning is good but not the be-all-and-end-all, if you lose then take it as an opportunity to try harder but as long as you’re doing your best, that’s all you can do.

  14. While I like yo instil a competitive nature in my kids I also subscribe to the ’they’re just kids’ model of living. This subject always tears me a little. I tend to use the ’just do your best’ phrase in the end and congratulate them for their effort win lose or draw. #thatfridaylinky

  15. Ooh, I love a good competition. And have never really been a fan of this ‘everyone’s a winner’ mentality. I encourage my 6 and 4 year olds to ‘do their best’, but I mean it: do your best, push yourself really hard and WIN. But of course then have to deal with tears when they don’t win. Or have to try really hard not to look smug and gloaty when they do win. Oh, it’s so tricky being a parent! #thatfridaylinky

  16. Hm… I haven’t really thought of this to be honest. My child will never be a winner in the traditional sense. At nearly 11 years old he still doesn’t talk, still needs a bit of assistance with toilet visits, wouldn’t bother getting dressed if he wasn’t told to, won’t know how much change he should get back when paying for something etc. On the other hand, I see him as a winner everytime he gains a new skill, grasps a new concept, or overwins a difficulty of some kind. In a way I might be nourishing a winner mentality, but if so, its all about personal victories/achievments, not over (or at the cost of) others. I guess my perspective is a little bit different to the average parent’s.

  17. Yeah I’m not super competitive, but I think that a healthy level of competition is definitely a good thing. I think its good when tempered with… its not the be all and end all.

  18. There are winners and there are losers in competitions. Period. If there isn’t a conclusion, it’s not really a competition. We will teach our children the desire to win, as well as the need to not be a sore loser (a bit tougher thing to teach!). It is fun to compete, which is the main goal in the end.

  19. I so agree. It annoys me when you see youngsters who are shocked by a knock-back when they go into the real world. It also amazes me that their parents have allowed them to grow up without preparing them for the real world. There was an article written by a university professor relatively recently who labels them ‘The snowflake generation’. Great post.

  20. My daughter has always been competitive, to the point where sometimes I need to reign her in a bit. I also encourage her and think that there is a balance that can be found between trying to be first but also always being willing to turn around and offer a hand to those behind #thatfridaylinky

  21. I completely agree Nige. My children will learn that you win and you lose. They need to know what that feels like and how to deal with the latter in a way that is acceptable. When they are applying for jobs etc it’s tough and they need to be prepared for that but they also need to know what it is like to win. How good that feels. Schools are supposed to help prepare for the real world and by removing the competitiveness it is not teaching them the reality #ThatFridayLinky

  22. Yesterday, my big was horizontal on the sofa before school, claiming she is just simply too tired to move at all. Now, it’s a school morning and we all have a groove to fit into… I reminded her of the previous night, watching the Olympics and seeing the one-legged skiers getting all sorts of medals. You don’t see them whining and sitting on the couch. When things are hard, you try. She got up, rather quickly, walked straight up to me and gave me a warm, loving hug. She said, “I love you, mommy!” Perspective. Pebbles. Rocks. Boulders. Great post. #thatfridaylinky xoxo

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