We live in a competitive world. The competitive spirit starts from our childhood. Our parents tend to compare us with other kids in the same school. Many a time, we are told why our peformance in academics cannot be like our neighbour’s daughter or son. We are asked why we cant compete in sports like our friend’s kid and so on. Not a single day in school or college goes without our performance being compared with someone else. Why this competition ? We are not born in this world with our neighbour’s son or daughter nor will we die with our friend’s children. Then, why do we do compete and make our life miserable every day.
If we move beyond children, even adults tend to compare themselves in everything. If a neighbour buys a new TV, it creates enough ripples within our home. If a friend buys a car or house, we want to outbeat them in size and value of house and car. Our value is based on the size of our house and car and not on the size of our heart. We want to possess more wealth than our siblings and our friends. We do not compete in giving back more. We are not willing to learn from the best habits of our neighbours.
Why this competitive spirits seeps in our life ? I may not have an answer but have many questions to ask myself and my readers ? Why do our parents want us to always compete with our siblings and our neighbours and friends ? Why do we want to possess more wealth than our neighbours and friends even though we may not need all of them in our life time ? Why are we willing to sometimes sacrifice our personal values to outbeat our colleagues at work ?
Many a time we justify our animal spirit of competitiveness by claiming that there are limited resources in this world and we have to be ahead of others in grabbing them. In my view, there are unlimited resources in the world for us to be successful. It is the limitation in our thinking, which makes us competitive. We limit our thinking and that reflects in our behaviour.
The workplace behaviour is more competitive. We die at the workplace virtually competing with everyone around us. Our spirit is not to learn and grow but to compete and die in our careers. While, it may be a good idea to be the best in whatever you do, it should not be at the cost of other colleagues at work. It may be a good idea to compete with oneself in whatever we do in life. We could be the best by being the best in work and in our behaviour.
There is enough in this world for all of us. Co-optition may be a better word. We can work along with our competitors for jointly creating a better world. Similarly, we can work with our colleagues to do our job better and learn from one another. We can also learn from our siblings and support each other to succeed. We learn more by sharing with one another rather than keeping knowledge to ourselves.
If at all there is an urge to compete, let us compete in working to create a happier world. Let us compete to live together as a bonded family. Let us compete with other countries to foster peace in the world. Let us compete to eliminate pollution in the world. Let countries compete to eradicate poverty in the world. Cooptition may replace competition from our dictionaries.
In the photo above, friends are singing together to create a chorus rather than competing with each other to outbeat each other.
Let us learn to live along with each other and create a world of our choice for our future generations.
S Ramesh Shankar