Interesting this article at Science Daily. There seems to be two different types of personalities, those who strive for excellence and those who strive for fun.
Oddly enough they are similarly productive, it all depends on the motivation. For the first type (achievers), when something is presented as challenging or are motivated by subliminal messages of excellence and accomplishment, they work better... but when something is presented as fun, they are just not interested and fail. The other type (enjoyers), maybe more common, do exactly the opposite thing: they will perform well when something is presented as fun but will feel demotivated when it's presented as a competition for excellence. Again, with the wrong motivation, they just lose interest and do worse.
As a decided member of the club of anti-competitive enjoyers, I perfectly understand this type: Excellence? That's boring. Fun? Then I will give my best.
As the co-author of the research, Dolores Albarracín, suggests: enjoying life is not a bad goal. But placed in a competitive environment we will unavoidably feel disenchanted and, almost willingly, allow ourselves to "lose".
We just want some other kind of game, one that is, simply put, enjoyable and not just demanding. It's not that we are worse: we are just not interested in winning just for the sake of it. First of all it has to be emotionally gratifying.
That's what communism (well understood) is about: destroying alienation and making work and production again something cool, not just the worthless competition of of the living dead that is today.