competitiveness as a result of an inferiority complex?

February 14th, 2005

Incredible as it may seem, the lack of updates on this blog has caused a modest air of discontent among those many, many readers. ;) So I graciously thank you for your interest and hope to entertain you for some time still. :)

Have you ever thought about how bits and pieces of your personality are stacked together involuntarily and just as often incoherently to combine into the person that you are? I'm taking a simplistic approach and attempting to look at the situation in terms of cause and effect. And I limit these considerations to that binary set of operations, taking it to be the full truth with whatever consequences follow. Don't ask yourself why you are who you are, instead examine a specific side of yourself and ask "why is it like this?". I have come to believe that specific personality traits can be simplified into effects of a cause.

I have no illusions nor have I ever had any about being having a competitive drive. And I'm starting to suspect that there is a precise cause for this. Because being competitive, wanting to compete, implies that you believe you can win the competition and become the best. If you continually compete and lose, you will soon realize that there is no good coming from this drive to compete and I think you'll abandon it. But if you win, it encourages you to keep winning. But winning is not empty, winning is very empowering. In fact, winning means different things to different people. If you feel you need to win, then you will take great satisfaction in winning, whereas if you don't need it, you will soon disregard it. Having said that, what does it mean to "need the win"? Although I find it increasingly difficult to argue for it on a logical level, I have a deep conviction that the desire to win is rooted in losing. The more you lose, the more you want to win, need to win.

Winning and losing are simplified concepts which model human behavior, much like a blueprint for a building models the building itself. Through my conditioning, I have been made to believe that time and time again I fail to excel in some things. Over time, failure and success constructs a perception of what we are good at and what we aren't good at. I was made to believe that certainly many things I am not good at. And undeniably "not good" at something implies "not as good as someone else" because that is all it can possibly mean. So the perception of being worse than someone else is, combined with the conviction that the situation is no exception, indeed it's a trend, I think constructs an unfavorable view of the world, ultimately an inferiority complex. What is a complex really? It's a deep rooted conviction that I am not as good as another person or a group of people and no matter what I do, I could never change that. And here I think lies the craving for winning. Having _admitted_ defeat, I yearn for the win in a different arena, one more favorable to me, one where the odds aren't against me. Every loss gives way to a craving for another win.

Now, the problem of an inferiority complex is a dual thing. Because inferiority gives way to superiority. Feeling inferior causes a feeling of superiority in whatever other context you feel comfortable. If you've ever said to yourself "I'll show them", then you know what I mean. As this is so closely tied to a person's self esteem, I can honestly say that I really feel good about myself when I feel superior. That is the only time I am truly in my element. A conviction of superiority need not be ugly, there is a fine line between the lack of confidence and feeling over confident. Superiority does not exclusively (or overwhelmingly for that matter) manifest itself through arrogance and disrespect. It can just as well be maintained quite successfully as a hidden attribute.

But I seem to be losing track of where I'm going with this. The point is that you cannot win without playing. You cannot possibly convince yourself (however much you wish to do so) that you have won when you have not competed. Keep in mind that the question of competition is one lacking concrete criteria. This is your mind, you decide what it takes to win or lose. But you can't possibly cheat yourself, you will always be fair. So wherever I go in life, essentially I compete. It is not a formal contest, the competition is present in my mind only. But whenever I win, I feel good and I feel I can use that win to make up for a loss.

There is another aspect to this. Let's run through the chain. Through winning, I make up for losing. So winning makes me feel good. But losing is still negative so having won sometimes I feel confident enough to admit to a loss, not just to myself but to people. Losing is not embarassing anymore because I still know that I'm really a winner. If you only lose you think of nothing else but if you win, you can stand to lose as well. So essentially, a person who admits defeat is a winner, isn't that something?

:: random entries in this category ::

3 Responses to "competitiveness as a result of an inferiority complex?"

  1. Erik says:

    OMG... "Me too!"

    You really pinpointed the essence here! Well done!

  2. numerodix says:

    I was hoping you would get what I meant, I doubt anyone else would. :D

  3. Erik says:

    That's probably true :D