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Are We Born To BE Competitive?

by Michael Brine


This is a question that has so often come up for me as I have moved through my life. I felt it might be a good article for discussion and hopefully lead us to some deeper conclusions.

Are we naturally competitive – or is it something that we learn and experience as we leave our mother's breasts and begin to ‘learn' and absorb the social environment we find ourselves living in, and indeed, having to deal with? Hhhmmm – interesting question.

Let me be honest with you. I do not believe it is natural – It is something we have to deal with as we begin to live in the world we find ourselves in – having to ‘compete' with others as in sports, or in school, or in the work place, as we move into adulthood.

I can remember when I was at boarding school in Ontario at the end of each term we were given our report card. This report showed where we came in rank in that class. Say in a class of 24 you came for example in the top 6 you were congratulated – if in the top 12 you were encouraged to keep working – if in the 13 to 19 – you had work to do – and you can imagine if in the bottom 6 how every body would look at you! Now is that healthy for your self esteem – makes you feel inadequate, doesn't it? Yup – I know from my own experience at school. That kind of experience stays with you and haunts you as you move out into this big competitive world now before you. Just a little daunting!

Now for me there is a big difference between feeling the need to be competitive in order to be respected by others or to succeed in the work place – or – in challenging yourself to prove to YOURSELF that you can do it – what ever “it” is! Make sense? Does to me.

As most of you know I was a realtor for a number of years here in Yukon . There were often times when I would have much preferred to work with my colleagues as a group and pooled our commissions, or a good part of them, and not have to compete with people who had become my friends – almost like family. This always bothered me but since I had to compete then I sure as hell did! However, for me it was more to challenge myself as opposed to ‘get ahead' of the others.

Let us look at this from another perspective – perhaps a more global one. We seem to live in a world in which even countries, or perhaps more particularly countries, are competing against each other whether obviously or discreetly. This, I believe, is an outgrowth of our conditioning from the individual level to the larger global playing field. The sad results as we too well know lead to confrontations and all too often war. Sadly it seems we cannot live together in harmony with each other due to the extensive contagion of this dis-ease.

One other example – in some ways a more pathetic example – our political system as embarrassingly as it shows itself to be, whether in our House of Commons in Ottawa, or as seen in other ‘lesser' jurisdictions such as here in Yukon, this on going need by each party to degrade the other to be able to promote itself as the better party. What a sad and useless way to try and run a country and decisions made are more usually for the political benefit of the party not necessarily for the constituents. None so blind as those who don't want to see! What a negative environment to have to work in. Over time it must impact on their health both mental and physical. More and more we see the frustrations of us - the individuals – losing all respect for our politicians. Leave us not forget they are but a reflection of us, only in a more public scale.

What I am trying to say here is that if we are raised through our childhood within a competitive environment whether obtuse or not, then this is what we learn, and sadly projecting into our future how we will likely live our lives. It is all we know and have been conditioned to see as to how we will be able to initiate our personal survival within the world around us. It then affects, and sadly infects, so much of our actions unconsciously in small ways and big from then on.

In saying this I should add that friendly competitiveness as in sports or in some other activities can be fun and indeed healthy emotionally. However, when it clouds our lives and pushes us into unhealthy attitudes and behaviour – and sadly we have seen this very much in the sporting world – and evolving into dis-like of another or group, then that is entirely another thing. Our hockey world has become such an infected example. Even, as we have recently seen on the news, it has now infected that almost Royal Game – Cricket! J

To challenge ourselves to be all that we can be is a noble and healthy way to live. To live our lives in harmony with others and working together as in community – sharing our talents and learning from each other – would result in a much more harmonious and healthy life, and help to unite a world that seems so tragically divided.

We are One people regardless of race, colour or creed – but we have unhappily allowed ourselves to be divided by lines on a map, rulers and sadly, even our religious/spiritual beliefs. Now this, as I see it, is the personal CHALLENGE before each of us – to recognise this and NOT to be confused by competitiveness AGAINST others. Such a world would be so much more fun to take part in and truly, to feel connected with others who are really only another of me!

So, I will leave it at that and hope this will create some reflection by those who read this. Your own insights always welcome for we also learn from each other.

Be well - Michael

Contact at wild.brine621@gmail.com

If interested other articles by this writer can be accessed at the following Australian web site:- www.missionignition.net/btb

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