Individual Success vs Team Success

One way to categorize motives is by dividing them into individual and shared/team success. You can be motivated to reach individual success. You can want to stand out and acquire personal accolades and increase your personal wealth and happiness. You can also want to share your success with others. You can want to win a team championship. You can want to represent for your city or country. You can want to work hard in order to give your family a better life. Both individual and shared success have pros and cons.

I argue that shared/team success is better than individual success. This is because, for most people, team success is more emotionally rewarding. It feels great to share success with your teammates, coaches, family, and city/state/country. This provides a sense of love and belonging alongside your accomplishment. It makes you feel a part of something greater than yourself. Team success strengthens your relationships with other people. You will enjoy reminiscing about old memories with your teammates for decades.

On the other hand, individual success can be isolating if you have no one to share your success with. People may become envious of you. People may see you as arrogant if you try to enjoy your memories of your personal accomplishments. You individual self/ego is simply too small compared to a collective group to satisfy yourself completely. Unless you have a very narcissistic personality, you will enjoy team success much more than individual success. Therefore, you should care more about team goals. Put the team before yourself and be the ultimate team player.

However, this doesn't mean individual success is worthless. It is still very valuable. Chasing individual success doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a selfish or narcissistic person.  Everyone has the right to want to feel good about themselves and stand out from the crowd. This is normal and healthy. Also, team success has its limits too. If all you care about is team success, you may start to feel like a cog in a machine. You may start to think there's nothing special about you and that you're replaceable. Sharing success while also standing out in ways is how you maximize happiness. Also, the competition between individuals helps drive the quality of sports which benefits everyone. 

It is not an either-or motivation. You can desire both individual and team success at the same time. All I’m saying is that you should value team success a little bit more than individual success. Strive for individual goals within the framework of team goals. For example, winning an MVP award should be a byproduct of striving towards team success. You can use the desire to become an MVP for motivation to improve yourself and become the best team player that you can be. But whenever your individual goals and team goals are in conflict, you need to get over yourself and focus on your team goals.

To get the most out of yourself, you need both individual and team goals. You also need to learn how to properly balance your individual and team goals to maximize your happiness, mental health, performance, and success. Take the time today to write down all of your individual and team goals. Reflect on them and decide which ones are most important to you. Figure out ways in which you can accomplish both your individual and team goals.