10 signs your competitive nature is subconsciously making you miserable

There are positive aspects of being competitive. 

But it can go too far. 

Here are the top indicators that your competitive nature has gone into overdrive and is actually ruining your life. 

1) You always need to be better

Competition has its place and can push us to grow better, stronger and faster. 

But it can also go too far and become a kind of addiction. 

Competition has become an unhealthy obsession if you’re trying to use accomplishments to fill a hole inside. 

You feel the need to always be better in order to feel sufficient or good enough.

You feel hollow inside and as soon as you have one big win you’re already chasing another one and needing to be even better.

This often has roots in early childhood and feelings of inadequacy, and the sad thing is that by buying into the need to always be better you continually end up feeling worse. 

2) You neglect your own needs 

 If competitiveness is making you neglect your own needs then it’s become a net negative. 

The typical example here would be that you become a workaholic to the extent that you neglect your need for food, water and human company. 

When you reach the point that your need to compete is actively harming your mental and physical health, it seems like this would become obvious. 

But the truth is that the temporary high you get from wins and accomplishments can seem more important than anything else in your life. 

The damage is often only visible years later, which is why it sometimes takes a loved one or person close to you to intervene. 

3) You rarely if ever take a break or vacation

Your competitive nature can lead to extreme tunnel vision. 

You can’t stop until you’ve hit a million bucks, until you’ve won the top industry award, until you’ve been recognized as the undisputed best in your field. 

The result is that the idea of even a few days of vacation can seem absurd. 

You can sleep when you’re dead. 

But the fact is that sometimes we all need a little break and vacation. 

Failing to take one and always having another priority is a subconscious way that competitiveness is sabotaging your well-being

4) You reject partnership and collaboration

When the chance of collaborating or working with others comes up, your first reaction tends to be suspicion or thinking there’s a catch. 

This is a subtle and subconscious way that competitiveness can skew your perception. 

There are many times when working together is actually a win-win. 

But over-competitiveness can convince us that if we don’t get it all done ourselves then we didn’t really deserve it or earn it. 

Partnership and collaboration are a part of many of the best things in life, and it can be truly sad to see some folks’ competitive nature turn them down for the sake of being more competitive. 

5) You see love and friendship as weakness 

Having an overly competitive mindset can spill over into the more personal level as well, making human connection itself seem like weakness. 

When you become too competitive, you can close yourself off to vulnerability and love, and you may turn down friendship as well. 

Part of this is that a competitive mindset can cause you to fall prey to transactionalism. This is basically the mindset of “What do I get?”

And friendship and love don’t always work that way, in fact they’re often much more about what you can give.

Which is why being too competitive can be so undermining to the potential for love and friendship. 

6) You are obsessed with your outer status

Competitiveness can lead to a troubling obsession with how you’re seen in the eyes of others. 

What makes this worse is that social media and online posting has only amplified this trend. 

Instead of focusing on how you feel about yourself and what you’re really focusing on in your life, you look at videos of yourself online and think “How does somebody else see this?”


“What impression will this make on that new business I want to link up with or the new woman I want to ask out?”

Your competitiveness is making you see yourself as more of a brand than a human and this can be a very shallow way to go through life.  

7) You can’t celebrate other people’s wins

How do you feel when somebody else gets good news?

Among the most troubling signs that competitiveness is toxifying your mind is that you find it very hard, even impossible, to genuinely feel happy for other people’s wins. 

You clap and send the “congrats!” messages and everything else expected of you, sure…

But you’re not really feeling it. 

In fact, even close friends and those in different industries may be causing you low-key feelings of jealousy and resentment. 

You tell yourself you just don’t have time for this right now and may often not be consciously aware of your resentment. 

But on some subconscious level the success of others kind of pisses you off. 

This brings up the next point… 

8) You frequently feel schadenfreude

Schadenfreude is a German word that means happiness at suffering. 

This might seem like something only a twisted person would feel, or at least only something you might feel when an enemy or horrible person gets what’s coming to them. 

Unfortunately schadenfreude can strike at the most inappropriate times and in subconscious ways. 

For example, you are feeling very down about your love life and hopeless that you’ll ever meet a real match you can be with long-term. 

As you’re going through these struggles, you find out that a colleague at work is currently about to get a divorce and is having major relationship issues. You think “damn, that is horrible.”

And you mean it. It is horrible.

Then you see that the girl you added on Instagram last month with the seemingly perfect boyfriend has just broken up and is posting emotional, angry status updates. 

Wow, it must be hard for her, you think. And you almost feel truly sorry for her. 

But deep down on some very subtle and profound level you feel a bit of a boost. 

You have a spring in your step for the day without even realizing that you’re low-key enjoying the idea that others are also having a bad time, not just you. 

Your competitiveness and scarcity mentality has genuinely infected your ability or willingness to empathize or be compassionate, which is sad (and much more common than most people want to admit). 

9) You push away friendship

If you find that you respond to offers of friendship with indifference or dismissal then it’s quite possible that an inner competitiveness is leading to this reaction on your part. 

When you become too competitive and locked in that mindset then friendship can seem irrelevant. 

Unless you can see an immediate benefit to being friends with them or meeting up with them, you’re quite likely to ignore messages and ignore attempts at friendship. 

You’re also unlikely to want to open up much when talking about yourself or your goals or interests with someone new, out of a perception that you’re giving away too much about yourself for no clear benefit. 

10) You mistrust advice and help

When advice and help come your way, how do you react?

Some advice really isn’t that good, and we do sometimes need to get things done on our own. 

But the very offer of advice and help can still be graciously declined or at least turned down in a nice way. 

When you’re overly competitive, you may perceive advice or help as condescending or looking down on you even when it’s not that way. 

We all need a hand up now and then and some words of advice, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Your number one opponent…

Many times we can be our own worst enemy in the negative sense. 

But we can also look at this differently:

Our greatest healthy competition should be against ourselves, not against other people. 

Our most important status should be our status in our own eyes, not in the eyes of society or other people. 

When it comes to competition, remember not to get too carried away. 

Your number one opponent will always be you. 

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