It incites worry, amplifies the strength of our insecurities -- what if someone does your specialty better than you? What if they just are better than you?

Sure, it's easy to get concerned about who we are competing against, but it's just as easy -- if not easier -- to get excited about competition too.

Competition teaches us big lessons; it drives us to be the best we can be. Here's what a number of highly successful leaders in varying industries have to say about this:

  1. "Whether it's Google or Apple or free software, we've got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes." -- Bill Gates
  2. "Taste the relish to be found in competition -- in having put forth the best within you." -- Henry Kaiser
  3. "World trade means competition from anywhere; advancing technology encourages cross-industry competition. Consequently, strategic planning must consider who our future competitors will be, not only who is here today." -- Eric Allison, Uber
  4. "The time your game is most vulnerable is when you're ahead. Never let up." -- Rod Laver, Adidas
  5. "If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks, and that means you're not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more changes to learn and win." -- John W. Holt, Jr., Xochi manufacturing
  6. "Number one, cash is king; number two, communicate; number three, buy or bury the competition." -- Jack Welch, General Electric
  7. "Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity." -- Nancy Pearcy, author
  8. "Competition whose motive is merely to compete, to drive some other fellow out, never carries very far. The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time." -- Henry Ford
  9. "Without the spur of competition we'd loaf out our life." -- Arnold Glasow, American businessman
  10. "As humans, we have evolved to compete; it is in our genes, and we love to watch a competition." -- Peter Diamandis, entrepreneur
  11. "Don't knock your competitors. By boosting others you will boost yourself. A little competition is a good thing and severe competition is a blessing. Thank God for competition." -- Jacob Kindleberger, mill owner
  12. "The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be only sustainable competitive advantage." -- Arie de Geus, Shell Oil
  13. "It's good to have high-quality competition; it helps drive research forward at a faster pace." -- Shuji Nakamura, engineer and inventor
  14. "As soon as I hear the word 'competition' I get serious and start doing everything that I can do." -- Maureen McCormick, actress and author
  15. "The idea of competition, particularly in a creative atmosphere, is always there; if you don't acknowledge that, you are doing yourself and the process a disservice." -- Jake Gyllenhaal
  16. "Link to your competitors and say nice things about them. Remember, you're part of an industry." -- Robert Scoble, technical evangelist
  17. "There is a tendency among some businesses to criticize and belittle their competitors. This is a bad procedure. Praise them. Learn from them. There are times when you can co-operate with them to their advantage and to yours! Speak well of them and they will speak well of you. You can't destroy good ideas. Take advantage of them." -- George Matthew Adams, columnist
  18. "Move fast. Speed is one of your main advantages over large competitors." -- Sam Altman, American entrepreneur
  19. "I looked at my competitors and I thought that, If they could do it, I could do it. And if, they are popular and doing well, I could compete with them." -- Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
  20. "You've got to keep reinventing. You'll have new competitors. You'll have new customers all around you." -- Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO