How to Know When You’re Winning a Competition


Some competitions that you take part in may be explicit in the way they crown winners and losers. Others however, can be competitions in which the winners are not crowned and the losers are not labelled. These competitions can stem from being in healthy competition with your workout buddy who you try to out-lift in the gym, to asking the better questions during a lecture at school.

Implicit competition is often times the realm in which people measure their skills. Most people do not participate in formal competitive activities such as sports or public debates, so they will be measuring the skills that mean most to them in secrecy against others performing that skill.

Some people reading this article right now may be writers in their own right and actively analyzing the level of skill with which this article is written, then comparing it to their own. Human beings are very competitive creatures, so this is to be expected. What underlying competitions don’t have – and what formal, structured competitions do have – is a sense of acknowledgement from others at the end.

The winners and losers will know who they are at the end of a chess tournament, but won’t at the end of a competitive group training session. Everyone may go home feeling like a winner, but you should learn a tell-tale sign of when you are winning in everyday, unstructured competitions.

Explanations of Your Success

The tell-tale sign of winning a competition, if there is no formal authority to crown winners, is the action of your competitors explaining away your success. In an effort to diminish your success, your competitors will have an instinctual need to explain it away towards uncontrollable factors. A psychological survival skill, is that of shifting one’s focus on controllable factors of attaining success to the uncontrollable factors which might’ve made them lose.

If for example, the person you’re playing video games with complains about the difference in the controllers you are using, it means they are shifting the cause of their failures towards uncontrollable factors. Failure to acknowledge your skill in dominating them in competition and explaining it away with uncontrollable factors should automatically give you a sense of victory.

Do Not Dispute Their Excuses for Losing

You should not defend yourself or your skills when your opponents make these excuses for themselves. Remember that these are purely psychological survival instincts on their part. You have already won the competition. Their mentality is not yet strong enough to accept full responsibility for a loss and is giving itself an out. Accepting full responsibility for a loss, and giving you credit for a win, would mean a painful venture on their part. They would have to analyze their performance and work hard to change the outcome.

Accept the excuses that your opponents make as signs of victory on your part and never try to dispute their claims. Let them bask in the possibility that uncontrollable factors may have preventing their victory that day, and always continue working hard towards victory and controlling all the factors in your success.

It may be painful to hear your hard work be explained away by flimsy excuses by your opponents. Do not take them seriously, they are merely coverups for their loss. Feel that sense of satisfaction, and let them save face.

Book Recommendation:

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work



Disclaimer of Opinion:
This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims in any way.