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best practices BUSINESS SIDE Competition: You've Got It How Can It Work for You? By Les Sweeney and Kristin Coverly 20 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j a n u a r y / f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7 Like it or not, as Americans, we have been bred to compete. It has been in our DNA since the founding of our country. Of course, it hasn't always been a virtue, but the nature of American society is to "be the best"—which usually means striving to be better than others. This is a fascinating drive we possess, because practically none of us will ever be the best—at anything. Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary defines competition as "the act or action of seeking to gain what another is seeking to gain at the same time and usually under, or as if under, fair or equitable rules and circumstances: a common struggle for the same object especially among individuals of relatively equal standing." 1 Why compete? Well, it depends on the setting. Usually, our instinct is to think of athletics—we compete to win, to finish first, to defeat our opponent. In most sports, we do not hold finite or violent goals. In a 5k run, we do not need to vanquish our opponent—winning might mean finishing first in our age classification, or beating a certain time. Is business competition any different? Wolfgang Kasper, an economics professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia, explains: "Economic competition takes place in markets—meeting grounds of intending suppliers and buyers. Typically, a few sellers compete to attract favorable

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