Competition is as old as life itself; the first organisms would never have needed to adapt new structures if there had been enough resources for everyone. Competition is the struggle to get more resources than others. The main reason that competition arose is because resources are limited. When one individual uses a resource, others cannot use it. If that resource is food, then those organisms that are not well adapted for getting food will die; if the resource is money, then those businesses that are not well adapted to raise profits will also die.
A natural tendency of competition occurs when an individual has some adaptation that is advantageous enough to take the competition by storm and conquer a niche. The adaptation is not only good for the initial takeover but it also allows the individual to hold on to the seized niche. Let’s look at a few examples of how competition allowed for a dominant individual to take over a niche and hold onto the power.
We’ll first look to biology. An apex predator is one that has adapted well enough to be the top of its food chain, meaning nothing else eats it. These are usually very skilled hunters or large animals that cannot be easily killed. Humans are examples of very skilled hunters and the Tyrannosaurus Rex was an example of an apex predator that was very difficult to kill. These two organisms were able to utilize their adaptations to ascend the competitive ladder and take over the top niche. In case you were curious, those adaptations were intelligence for humans, and being really giant and aggressive with very powerful jaws and sharp teeth for the T-Rex.
Businesses are able to skip the one inevitability that organisms cannot: businesses can potentially live forever. Organisms will all eventually die, but businesses can be handed down from person to person. The business can be kept fully intact during the transfer which means the new owner can start where the previous one left off. This allows large companies to grow even larger. There is also no cap to business growth. Organisms eventually get can’t eat anymore or run out of prey to eat if they kill too many, money never gets old. Businesses making a lot of money still want to make more money. It’s understandable because the ones who always want more are usually the best competitors. The competitive trait sticks with us today, we always want for more.
If an individual is able to ascend the ranks and hold onto the top niche, the other competitors will be forced to either diversify or die. In nature, organisms will find other ways to utilize their adaptations and discover a new niche. In business, marketing or investment strategies can be used to give a company the edge it needs to find its new niche.
It’s essential to remember that competition cannot exist unless there are multiple competitors. The competing sides spur each other on, each side topping the others forcing everyone to keep up. If not for all of the other organisms vying for the same limited resources, our ancestors might never have adapted all of the wonderful things you can see in modern life. Competition inspires progress, it is the explanation of how things got to the way they are now.
There is a reason we like to exercise with friends; friends don’t let friends quit on themselves. Stay competitive, always want more, but first learn your specific adaptation that will allow you to find your niche.