I have never been a fan of competition. Ever. Maybe the single child non-sibling-rivalry environment never made it compulsory for me to outshine someone else. It wasn’t incumbent on me either to try and find a good potential rival from my peer group and then instigate a fight unto death.
It was never my way of excelling at anything. According to me, my predecessors are there to guide me in what not to do and my equals are there to enlighten me in the art of different approaches. My successors are there to remind me that no matter how many times I succeed, I will always be learning something or the other.
Where, then, is there any room for competing? No one has ever been able to prove this to me in spite of several scattered observations and arguments that were offered to me by friends and classmates.
They said competition is healthy. I said no such thing exists. They said competition is borne out of ambition. I said ambition should never be compared. They said those who don’t compete, fail- I said those who do compete naturally can’t succeed in everything. They said competition gives motivation- I said if motivation needs external incentive then it never was motivation. They said a need for excellence spawns competition- I said nagging envy does that. They said competition fosters growth- and I said, Competition chokes contentment.
On and on the arguments went. I was never very passionate about this disagreement in the first place because I could understand that people who have lived off competition could never reconcile these opposing views. It would be awful for them to admit that you see- the realization that they could have achieved all they wanted without bothering with competition.
There is no need to reconcile these views if it creates too much conflict for people. These are parallel pathways towards goal-achievement- they will never converge. Simply put, those who need competition to spur them on can never rely on their internal drive because it doesn’t refuel itself. They need to beat others to feel they’ve won because they’re too afraid to beat themselves.
What does competition do to any positive environment? It diffuses it with pressure, time-constraints, envy, dissatisfaction, worry, anxiety, sleeplessness, self-doubt, under confidence, distraction, low attention-span, loss of focus, stress, tension, apprehension, hyperactivity, negativity, pessimism, spite, unilateral thinking, lesser creativity and a scarcity of ideas. The best of relationships are often soured and embittered by rivalry that wasn’t stopped in time. Siblings drift apart as a result of constant comparison and pressure. People find it difficult to get to a goal without the added responsibility of beating someone else to it. Otherwise it’s no fun.
I refuse to accept competition as a technique anymore. I do not glean any sense of victory from defeating others, jeering at them, mocking them, taunting them and outmatching people at all as if I have nothing better to do. Those who do that really have no other occupation. Folks like me on the other hand, possess a shrewd enough intellect that pierces right through this superficial crap and understands that it is life we are fighting against- not people.
My best comes from the smug satisfaction of beating life as it diligently obstructs my path and repeatedly fails. Life is my opponent because it does not tolerate success after success for it is then rendered useless. I have absolutely no problem with people doing better than me- it is when life outsmarts me that I fight. In my experience that is the only prize worth fighting for. Usurping life’s power.