Competition is considered a creative self-block and I agree with it. If you’re competing with someone when writing, painting, dancing etc. you can’t ascend. Competition costs innovation.
Now there’s a joyless thought.
I used to drive my music directors crazy with my anti-competitive outlook. They actually deliberately set me in proximity to this one girl who was competitive, batshit crazy/insecure and stuck in a near-constant plateau. Of course, all this did was take me from being neutral about playing clarinet – eh, it was better than taking home ec – to just plain fucking hating it. They figured this miserable girl would drive us both to constant practice, because to them a great life was one doing what they wanted instead of letting me figure out what suited me best.
All it did was make me count the days until the end of high school. I gladly took the grade hit senior year in exchange for not doing marching band or whatever the stupid football/bowl game thing was just so I did NOT have to spend time with that godawful girl. No, really, she was so lost in competition she had no sense of proportion at all. I don’t know what the directors were telling the poor thing, but she just could not see what was right in front of her: I just did not give a shit, did not want to be there and despite deliberately blowing chair tests I could not fucking escape.
The girl plateaud because she was constantly competing. I don’t think that poor creature ever found her way out of it. In creativity, you can’t compete – by competing, you lose. Just look at the standout artists and their cultural context. Salieri and Mozart are a warning about that crap.
On the other hand, the writer scene of Paris in the 1920s – writers working in support of one another – launched unique, powerful, differing voices that still define Western thought now. It was not a competitive situation – and it allowed brilliance to flourish.