Does Competition Equal Motivation?

Competition is a funny thing.  Sometimes it brings out the best in people…and sometimes the worst.  It can be a motivator or a weight on your shoulders.  I think it is all in the mindset (again, how important mindset is…) of the individual participating in the competition.

With the mention of mindset I cannot help but wonder… Does competition really play a role in motivation or is it simply the mindset that drives a person to accomplish a goal?  A few course blocks ago I had to debate with classmates whether internal or external motivation drives a person to success more efficiently.  I chose internal motivation.  With internal motivation (and mindset certainly plays a part here), I believe anyone can accomplish anything.  In my opinion, external motivators can lose their appeal in a long-term goal (especially with a lack of internal motivation), which means their effectiveness is less.

My classmates (many of them anyway) disagreed with me.  Their argument was for external motivators (specifically monetary reward…and some went with just praise from others).  The common belief was that external motivators can create internal motivation when there is not any to begin with.  Do you agree?

I certainly believe that external motivators have a place, and that they can be effective (given the right circumstances and in combination with internal motivation).  I do not believe; however, they can produce effective results consistently (especially with the initial lack of internal motivation).

All that being said…I would love to start a group competition (because apparently that is the cool thing to do right now…with the start of Biggest Loser last night).  My initial thought is to have at least 10 people competing for 10 weeks.  After 10 weeks the person who loses the highest percentage of weight (because we are all going to be starting at different sizes) will win.  Win what you might ask…  Well, I was thinking each person would put in $10 to $15 to join the competition (and to emphasize commitment a little).  The winner would collect all money paid into the beginning pot.  So, with 10 people each putting $10, that would be $100 for the winner.  That’s a decent reward (in addition to health and fitness), right?

So, what do you think?  Do you believe internal or external motivators are more efficient?  Do you believe that external motivators can create internal motivation for long-term success?

If you are interested in participating in the weight loss competition group, please contact me via e-mail at  I will start a private group (probably on FB or Yahoo – depending on what everyone prefers) for competition correspondence and tracking.


4 responses to “Does Competition Equal Motivation?

  1. why limit yourself to just one kind of motivation? different ones for different days.

    somedays i’m on fire all by myself
    sometimes I need a little music
    sometimes I just want to post some good numbers to the blog
    sometimes I just want to outpace the guy on the machine next to me into the ground
    sometimes the guy on the machine next to me is outpacing me into the ground and I want to not be embarassed.

  2. I certainly agree that if you don’t have the internal motivator then you won’t ever receive your external motivator. If you aren’t serious about losing weight then you wont win the comptetion. I actually started a competition at work. We are paying $20 to go in a pot, winner takes all. Pretty much the same as what you are doing. We are doing it for 9 weeks, and it will be based on body fat percentage as well since we are different sizes. I’m pretty excited about it. I’m all ready except I have to get my fresh produce this weekend. 🙂

    • I think those group competitions are catching on…although no one around me is doing one (except a friend of mine who is participating through a group of co-workers). That is part of the reason I thought I’d give one a go for my blog readers. I suppose that won’t pan out, though…which, of course, is perfectly fine by me. I am pretty motivated all by myself (my chicklets certainly help to keep things in perspective for me). 🙂

      Good luck with your group. Hope you kick butt and take…money (LOL).


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