The former means you fight for what others want or have.
It means that you assess yourself in comparison to someone else. It binds your interpretation of your own success to your standing amongst the group. And you know what that means?
You’re gonna have a very anxious and unstable life.
If your sense of success is bound to where you stand in the hierarchy, any fluctuations in your perceived standing are a nightmare. So you’ll do everything within your power to flaunt whatever traits are most valued, and do everything to hide or avoid that which could injure your reputation and take you down a level.
This is a dangerous game to play.
But competing with yourself? Oh boy.
That means perpetual improvement. That means you seek help from other people to become better today than you were yesterday. That means that your sense of success is tied to something that is within your control: your thoughts, your actions and your own rate of improvement.
Look at it another way.
When you compete against others, it’s you, versus seven billion others. But when you compete against yourself, it’s you and seven billion others, against yourself.
I know which fight I’d want to be in.