Motivation for learning or mastering new things can be found in either the subject you are studying or competing with others. If you are competing with others, be sure to set your aim high. Find the most gifted individuals in that particular field that exist in this world and set out to learn as much as you can to bridge the chasm between the two of you. Getting addicted to the taste of winning while competing with your closest friends or surrounding groups will just push you to focus on ‘appearing’ to win within your closed circle instead of methodically improving your game. Statistics will tell you that your closest circle is the worst frame of reference and that you are setting yourself up for failure. It takes little effort to push yourself passed friends that are not really trying vs. learning the attitude and mindset to compete with individuals that are years and leagues ahead of you.
If you are addicted to winning, you will settle for any win. Which will in turn, most likely cause you to cut corners and pick an avenue where you can fill that need by any means.
There is also this short sighted falsehood of public competition, where your active participation can attract leaching attention and whatever initial advantage you had, is learned by other through observation and might become their advantage as well. Sports is the most obvious avenue for that particular statement, where the winner is usually the one who picks up all the tricks of the others and ruthlessly steps over you.
Being patient, methodical and calculated can build up a lot of interesting weapons for your arsenal. And in my mind, the best way to compete is just to enter the game at a point where most people can’t compete with you.