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quotations about competition

Competition quote

Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.

HERBERT HOOVER, State of the Union Address, December 2, 1930

All you have to do is play better than the other guy and things go well. If you don't play better than the other players then somebody takes your place. Now a lot of guys, in this day and time with the transient nature of the sport, as soon as the competition gets too good, they want out.


The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself.

WASHINGTON ALLSTON, Memoirs and Essays

Competition, founded upon the conflicting interests of individuals, is in reality far less productive of wealth and enterprise than co-operation, involving though it does the constant apparent sacrifice of the individual to the common interests.

ROBERT HUGH BENSON, A City Set on a Hill

Thank God for competition. When our competitors upset our plans or outdo our designs, they open infinite possibilities of our own work to us.


When a man can do better than everyone else in the same walk, he does not make any very painful exertions to outdo himself. The progress of improvement ceases nearly at the point where competition ends.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Competition is the spice of sports; but if you make spice the whole meal you'll be sick.


Never compete with someone who has nothing to lose.

BALTASAR GRACIAN, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

The reason why men who mind their own business succeed is that they have so little competition.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

I found that competition was supposed to be a menace and that a good manager circumvented his competitors by getting a monopoly by artificial means.

HENRY FORD, My Life and Work

What does it mean to be the best? It means you have to be better than the number two guy. But what gratification is there in that? He's a loser—that’s why he's number two.

JAROD KINTZ, This Book is Not for Sale

Strip away all the assumptions about what competition is supposed to do, all the claims in its behalf that we accept and repeat reflexively. What you have left is the essence of the concept: mutually exclusive goal attainment (MEGA). One person succeeds only if another does not. From this uncluttered perspective, it seems clear right away that something is drastically wrong with such an arrangement. How can we do our best when we are spending our energies trying to make others lose--and fearing that they will make us lose?

ALFIE KOHN, No Contest: The Case Against Competition

Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.

DAVID SARNOFF, attributed, Dynamics of Leadership In Public Service: Theory and Practice

I feel sorry for those who live without competition ... fat, dumb, and unhappy in cradle-to-grave security.

DONALD M. KENDALL, How to Manage

Competition is a rude yet effective motivation.

TOBA BETA, Master of Stupidity

The price which society pays for the law of competition, like the price it pays for cheap comforts and luxuries, is also great; but the advantages of this law are also greater still, for it is to this law that we owe our wonderful material development, which brings improved conditions in its train.

ANDREW CARNEGIE, "Wealth," North American Review, Jun. 1889

If you can't win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Although competition is beneficial from a social point of view, individually each of us would prefer to be loosened from its grip.

RICHARD L. STROUP, Macroeconomics: Private and Public Choice

Competition is in the genes of all living things. Watch a flower compete for its share of sunlight or watch the goldfish in your aquarium. Infants and small children compete without knowing it. Remember how the queen bee wins? Competition is the spice of life and the soul of progress. How else can quality rise to the top?

CHARLES T. CLARK, The Rotarian, May 1988

Competition is warfare. Mostly it is played by prescribed rules--there is a sort of Geneva Convention for competition--but it's thorough and often brutal.

ANDREW S. GROVE, New Yorker, Oct. 1997

To maintain that competition is the sole method by which superiority can be tested and established leads to the inference that competition is a thing so beneficial that, so far as possible, it should be allowed to rage unchecked. But competition is in itself largely due to artificial causes; and it is not true that the competitive spirit is the source of all progressive development, even in the natural sphere. Competition is very far indeed from always leading to upward movement.... The effect of competition is to prevent any form from attaining its maximum development, and to maintain a certain comparatively low level for all forms that succeed in surviving.

SIDNEY LOW, The Living Age, vol. 263

Competition is a complex thing. It brings out the best and the worst in all participants. It refines the technique and sharpens the mind, body and spirit.

HERB PEREZ, "The Nature of Sport," Black Belt Magazine, May 1999

Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, The Roosevelt Reader: Selected Speeches

Competition, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad. If a person or group seeks a desired objective to the exclusion of such higher ethics as truth and fairness, the seeking indeed is unhealthy. However, if a person or group seeks a desired objective while remaining true to high ethical standards, the pursuit will be a healthy growth experience.

PHILIP SOLOMONS, The Rotarian, May 1988

All dealings among men are a contest in which some will succeed and others fail. And some are failing quite spectacularly.


Thou shalt not covet, but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.

ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH, "The Latest Decalogue"

Competition is for dogs and horses.



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