Intense competition exists in every aspect of life. Darwin described it as the engine that powers the train of evolution. With so much competition across all industries, wouldn’t you want to know how to gain a competitive edge? Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman reveal what’s truly in the heart of a champion.

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In today’s book of the day ‘Top dog’, Bronson and Marryman explain the science behind winning and losing. The main idea of the book is centered around our competitive nature. Whether participating in a sporting event or trying to get a job promotion, there is no question that human beings are natural competitors. The only thing that separates you from the rest, is your ability to perform when the game is on the line.

As mentioned in the book, competition isn’t always about winning or losing. It’s about understanding what influences your perceptions of your own abilities, things like your biology, neurology, and psychology. By understanding these, you’ll be able to make better decisions in high-pressure situations.

Studies show that we tend to perform better when we are competing against other people. We work harder when there are fewer competitors and feel discouraged to try if there are lots of them. Although competition may bring out the best in most of us, it might hinder the performance of the rest.

Marryman says performance can be easily affected by high levels of stress in the body. How you handle that stress is dictated by your biology and psychology. It is up to you to figure out how to optimize your results while experiencing extreme levels of stress.


At this point, you probably know that testosterone is more commonly known as the ‘male hormone’, but what role does it play in your body while it’s engaged in competition?

Research shows that men tend to be over-confident due to high levels of testosterone and often underestimate their competition because of it. Conversely, women on average are under-confident and think their competition is as good or better than them.

Finally, guys are almost always focused on success as the end result while girls are more focused on their odds to succeed.

Play to win instead of playing not to lose

There is a difference between playing to win and playing not to lose, it’s measured in aggressiveness, effort, and confidence. Think about it, you’re not going to win a game by playing defense the whole time. Playing to win means taking calculated risks when necessary and creating an environment that maximizes your capabilities.

You can do this by identifying 3 key factors.

  1. Do you perform better working alone or in a team?
  2. Do you perform best when pressure is high or when there is nobody watching?
  3. Are you a Worrier or a Warrior?

The answer to these 3 questions will help you create the environment that’s best suited for you to maximize your potential.

TOP DOG- The science of winning and losing

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