Competition and Comparison

I ended my last blog with a quote that inspired me to write this blog. That was:

flowers and no competition

Flowers and no competition

The quote about flowers just blooming and not competing, speaks for my dislike of competition, which started in my family.  There are places where competition makes sense to me: in sports, for instance. Otherwise, I see competition and comparison as  ways to divide and rank people. I think both of these ways of doing things do NOT help relationships with others, and for the bigger human picture, they do NOT help our planet.

human fist

Human fist

To me competition with others is like this closed fist: it is about not being open to others. Competition and comparison fosters the attitudes: “I am better, smarter, more beautiful, more handsome, more loved., etc.”

In education in the past we have believed that competition motivated children to learn. I think this kind of motivation is a false belief. How about instead, encourage a child to learn for him- or herself.  This teaches children responsibility for themselves and that they are special in their own way. Children can then discover the gifts that they have to offer the world. They don’t have to compare themselves with others or compete.

I have seen it for myself: I learn for myself. I have found I can finally learn who I am. Even though I was reared in a highly competitive environment.

As adults when we let go of competition and comparison, we adult learners, finally can concentrate on our own strengths, or even learn what those are for the first time in our lives. We need to be willing to look within and ask ourselves: Who am I? What gifts can I contribute to this world? What do I feel in a deep way? When I am saying WE, I include myself.

This article talks about the stress that competition creates. This article probably was written by a student, and it has some excellent points.

I still do NOT think competition works well when humans are learning, no matter what age they are. When we don’t compete with others, we feel we are able to ask for help when we don’t know something. If we fear that we must know everything because we are competing and comparing ourselves to others, then often we are afraid to ask questions, and thus, our learning lessens.

Another part of competition that I find destructive, when we are competing outside of sports, is when we have an attitude that we must win at all costs.  In business and other human relations, if I  MUST ALWAYS WIN no matter what, then it is highly likely I would be willing to cheat, lie, and injure others. This behavior to me does not exalt us as human beings. It reverts us humans to “dog eat dog” behavior and the darkest part of human behavior. Compassion and caring about other people does not exist in an environment that fosters this kind of competition. I will NOT sign up for this kind of competition.

Like most things in life, even competition has its place and fulfills a need which seems to be a part of many of us human beings. I don’t even get to be right about this because both competition and cooperation are a part of our world and have their places.  I will continue to value cooperation more because of what I have seen and lived  in my own lifetime. However, this is where I can to be open to competition’s value where it does work.

open hand

being open

Here is one more longer article about Competition vs Cooperation:




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