Competition doesn't just compel you to boost your physical performance; it forces you to focus on ways to improve in almost any situation, says Lori Scherwin, founder of career coaching firm Strategize That. This increases your cognitive skills and creativity. “You'll start thinking differently and expanding your imagination to do things better,” she says. Just ask anyone who’s ever stayed up all night perfecting a presentation and hopefully outshine a work rival . . . only to come up with a brilliant strategy and subsequently earn a reputation at the office for being an ideas person who pushes boundaries.
“If you remember to keep yourself focused on doing your personal best, you'll stay focused on your own development and how you can grow and learn,” notes Scherwin.
It might seem counterintuitive to see competition as a relationship builder. But whether it's on the job, at the gym, or among your social circle, to get things done, you need to team with others, says Scherwin. “Pushing yourself to succeed will naturally gear you toward enhanced collaboration and position you as a leader with whom others want to associate.”