Can you train a competitive mindset?

Can you train a competitive mindset?


By: Mario Ashley, MBA

The short answer is yes.

Nobody is born with the ability nor willing to take pain. If that were the case a born competitive child who accidentally touches a hot stove or iron would be “tough” enough to manage the ensuing pain that comes along with it. That’s obviously not the case.

What science has attempted to study for a very long time is what makes one competitive? And that starts with the science of competitiveness.

Scholars argue, “competitiveness” is a biological trait that evolved with the basic need for human survival. They went on to say that:

This conceptualization implies that the concept of competitiveness is not an inherited trait or entity to be acquired, but rather theorizing it as a functional performer-environment relationship that needs to be explored, developed, enhanced and maintained in team games training programs.

The research showed that a competitive mindset is not inherited but developed through our environment. If that is the case it would make sense that leveraging the idea of competition as a tool for physical and mental growth should be encouraged not dis-couraged.

We recognize that in all sports it is a zero-sum game. That in order for you to win, someone else must lose. Unfortunately, by eliminating the loser and having both teams win completely removes the purpose of competition and the outcomes competition produces as well.

So the short answer turned long is that Yes, absolutely, the competitive mindset can be learned. A better question is “Is there such things as a competitive threshold?

We’ll save that for another time.