'Martial arts is about expressing oneself.' ~ Bruce Lee
Is being competitive a bad thing?
It is when elite athletes breed an air of eliticism, that they may create social distance from others. If they prefer to train with better athletes, it is their choice. Train with the best, and you may ascend to a higher level of performance and athletic excellence. That is why this shift form amateur to serious amateur defines the point of athletic excellence. To excel requires heightened awareness, refined skills, tough mental attitude, and an ability to train hard (and bear physical distress).
However, when life revolves about winning and winning is everything, then this sense of competition needs to be reviewed. There will always be competition around us. It can be outwardly or inwardly expressed. One need not be nasty or exhibit 'bad sportsmanship' after a poor showing, or harass slower and less-driven competitors for blocking your way.
Comparing one's results with others is part of benchmarking. However, if it is persistent and it embeds itself in an obsessive 'search and destroy' sense of purpose, then it is a destructive process. Besting oneself is better than beating oneself up for not beating another competitor/participant. The joy and passion of racing can be diluted by an overwhelming desire to win. Feeling disappointed and depressed are not useful emotional outcomes to gain from the act of competition or racing.
A sense of achievement and personal fulfillment may exceed athletic prowess and winning. Neophytes enjoy the socialising that comes with participating. Improvements on timing and strength are bonuses that reflect progression and alignment to goals.
Leadership Lessons: Be competitive, however be clear about when you do, and why. If your sense of competition riles others, then slow down. Competing and being competitive have mild distinctions. Perform at your best, do your best, and live with it. You can always compete by improving your abilities, and enhancing your capabilities. Enjoy your next race.