Though it may not be a widely-accepted term, competitive anxiety refers to feeling anxious amidst competition. Every person who understands what it takes to win at their chosen pursuit fears their competitors to a point. We typically see our competitors as threats with bigger teeth than they actually have and skills more dangerous than they actually possess. We overestimate our competitors, sometimes without any factual backing, and degrade our performance due to the nerves that arise.
What Causes Competitive Anxiety?
The main reason we continually overestimate our competitors is because we do not know enough details about them. The details surrounding a person’s life, history, habits, tendencies, and other information put us at ease. It makes us less nervous competing with our competitors as we know what to expect. Contrary to what you may think, we do not fear strong competition, but we fear surprising competitors. We fear getting surprised by our competitors, which is where our competitive anxieties come from. This reason is why you need to learn to study your competitors and opponents in life.
Why You Should Study Your Opponent
Apart from the strategic benefits studying your opponents brings forth, the main benefits of studying your opponents surround remaining calm when the battle comes. Studying your opponents enables you to anticipate and prepare for what is about to come. You can see their tendencies, their weaknesses, their strengths, and above all, what makes them human.
Details are the enemy of anxiety, which is in large part a fear of the unknown. The more details you know about a subject, the less anxious about it you will be. Anxiety will always exist however, as nobody is a fortune teller. The future will always contain an element of surprise to it. However, studying the details surrounding your competition will work to ease the anxiety prior to and during your competitive moments in life.
Details and Anxiety
Become a master of noticing detail in competition. The act of noticing details that your opponents fail to notice is an empowering feeling. Depending on your chosen pursuit, there will always be details that give away competitive weakness. If you are competing against a human being, they are sure to have their weaknesses. Find those weaknesses by being a student of details. Know your opponents inside out before the battle commences, and stay calm and calculated during competition.
A part of noticing details is also noticing the mistakes your competitors make during competition. These techniques may seem negative by nature but they are merely a re-balancing of the pedestal our brains put our competitors on by default. We are conditioned to fear our competitors by nature, as that fear saved the lives of our ancestors. However, that anxiety has no place in modern life, whether it be social or professional. Your anxiety needs to be counteracted with facts, and a powerful counteracting force to anxiety are the details surrounding the situation which you are anxious about.