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Psychological Reasons Why Competition is not Healthy

We are living in an era of competition where almost everyone is competing with everyone else. It is widespread and exists everywhere, even in friendship, sadly. But the truth be told, competition is overrated and harmful unless the competition is with one’s self.

Yeah, I know that this will sound unusual to most of you because we all, since generations, are habitual of some cliché phrases like, “life is a competition,” “life is a battlefield,” “our life is a race,” etc. But the thing that we do not realize that how badly it is affecting our mental health and well-being.

In an article published on the Forbes website, A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better than the Competition book’s author and entrepreneur, Margaret Heffernan, states that it does not bring out the best in us but causes us to focus solely on the end goal, the prize.

This article is containing some reasons why competition is not healthy. Read it till the end as this is going to be an insightful piece of information, which may help you in your life, somehow.

#1. Competition Creates Stress

It does not matter how big or small a competition is, it always causes the individuals or teams to stress out thinking about the result of the given situation, whether that situation is winning a marathon race or attempting examinations in college or school. Competition seems to be interesting for the visitors or the audience because they are not part of that competition, but are rather present there for their enjoyment. It creates stress for the participants of the competition, they panic, no matter if their panic is visible on their faces or not, which further affects their mental health. And with stress, comes anxiety.

#2. Competition Creates Fear

This is the obvious thing about the competition – the fear of losing or failing. This fear can be related to anything. It can be related to exams, business goals, an achievement that you are working hard to achieve, etc. And this fear not only includes the fear of losing or failing but also the fear of getting rejection as a consequence of failure or an unsuccessful attempt.

#3. Competition Gives Birth to Hatred and Jealousy

Well, here you might be thinking, how and why, right? Suppose you worked very hard to achieve something, and have put all your effort that you could but still could not make it. And someone else who was also doing the same thing as you were doing, but that individual succeeds and hence your effort did not pay you off as you expected it to.

And this is where negative emotions like hatred and jealousy come into play. You start feeling a sort of anger for that individual because you are anxious due to what you could not achieve but that individual could, even when you both were doing the same thing and with equal effort. You will start to hate that individual and become jealous.

#4. Competition Makes You Doubt Yourself

When you compete and compare yourself with others and find them doing well in comparison to you, you start doubting your abilities and in your mind, you think of phrases like, “Am I not doing good enough?” “Am I not capable to achieve anything good?” “Am I lacking in skills?” “Am I not worthy of achieving what others are achieving?” etc.

And we all know that these kinds of thoughts are not only negative but depressive as well, which causes low self-esteem in the individual having such thoughts. This self-doubt can lead to some more unwanted consequences such as emotional instability, procrastination, lack of motivation, depression, anxiety, and worst – self-harm or self-destruction. Yeah, you read that right. We all need to understand this and should stop going mad in this rat race.

#5. It Can Provoke One to Diminish Others

This is where competition further becomes unhealthy when competition makes you want to tear others down. To win or get whatever at any cost, you start to sabotage people or your fellow competitors to get ahead of them, which is an unethical practice that is not only bad for others but for one’s self as well because it destroys the core of the person doing it.


The era of the mad rat race competition is overrated and it (competition) is getting unnecessary hype in our country, which is making hundreds and thousands of youths, especially students, take their lives – they are committing suicide. According to an NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau) Report in 2020, a student took their own life every 42 minutes, which means over 34 students died by suicide in the year 2020.

We need to realize that competition is eating us all up from the inside and is doing nothing good as we assume it to be doing.

Hope this article helps you realize this alarming crisis before it is too late.

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