Competition is said to be a natural survival instinct among all creatures. Creatures compete for access to food, shelter, mating partner, and to save one’s own life in case of calamities and emergencies.
Should we be always competing with others?
But today humans spend competing with each other, all their life. Whether it is for admission in a school or university, a job or a promotion, gaining social status and respect in their community, or even playing some sport; we have created a system where we need to compete to gain anything. The spirit of competition is so ingrained in us through our social conditioning that we compete even for trivial things like getting a seat in public conveyance, cheating the queue to bill desk in departmental stores, driving our way ahead in a heavy traffic, fetching a ticket to the first show of a blockbuster movie and even to pick up the dinner plate and dishes in a buffet party. Should we be competing for such trivial things too? Or do we ever need to compete with each other?
Social acceptance to the spirit of competition is a concern
IMHO, the spirit of competition is the root cause of all major world problems. We have created a culture where one-upmanship is desired and rewarded. Society has made competition a benchmark for measuring all your life’s achievements and accomplishments. If you have earned a huge amount of money in your life, it proves to the society that you are very competitive and hence competent. If you reach to the top of a corporate ladder or successfully get a high-profile position in your career beating all competition, you are respected and held in high esteem in the society.
Thus we have created things like ‘money’ and ‘designations’ as indicators of success. In academics, ‘marks’ and ‘report cards’ become your balance-sheets to see how good you can compete than others. ‘Trophies’ and ‘awards’ are benchmarks for sports. Now days, we assign ‘scores’ and ‘rankings’ like Top-10 or Top-100 lists for almost everything to ascertain the best among the rest. These lists create competition among the people or institutions who want to see themselves in.
Scarcity vs. Abundance Conundrum
Competitions are created out of the feeling of scarcity. Competitive spirit create rivals and kills friendly and cooperative spirit. Competition boost ego of achievers and leads others to depression or frustration. Competition destroys peace of mind. Culture of competition accepts the winners-take-all-mentality.
Competition is not always a zero-sum game where one’s gain is others’ loss. When there are only a few winners in a competition involving millions of people, all efforts put by others in that direction and precious resources consumed in preparation to that competition are completely wasted. I’d rather call it the “opportunity cost of competition”. In uselessly preparing for those competitions, these people and resources may have been utilised for something more constructive & valuable; saving them from the humility of losing a competition in the process.
Competition is not always healthy
Competition and rivalry among nations have created a lot of unnecessary arms and ammunition. Competition for being the first in creating and delivering new versions of gadgets like mobiles, tablets and computers have generated tons of electronic waste. Competition and capitalist economy has also lead to creation of exclusive patent rights. This exclusivity has killed the local businesses and increased the global carbon footprint in delivering goods and services in distant territories.
In an effort to achieve riches, recognition and better status; that prove us being competitive, we need to exploit precious natural resources at the quickest rate possible. This destructs our environment, ecosystem, diversity of flora and fauna and our own relationship with our Mother Earth.
We need to be more collaborative than competitive
Winning competitions is self-aggrandising. It's just all about ourselves. We may derive a momentary happiness and pride out of it but that happiness is also rooted in social conditioning of deriving our success from social benchmarking. Instead, if we live in harmony with everyone, we can easily find inner peace and happiness. Collaborative approach leads to synergy in achieving any solution to a problem (yes, two plus two do equals five). When we take into account the interest of everyone, we see the larger picture. When we work for the whole instead of just our own selves, we find our work in alignment with our spirit.
When “giving” is valued more than “taking”
Self-centred approach of achievement can never do a common good. But if our culture, values and system is designed in such a way that it promotes collaborative approach rather than self-centred approach, the whole world will be entirely different and more liveable place. We need to create a value system, where we seek our interest in fulfilling others’ interest, where we derive happiness by spreading happiness, where we earn riches by spreading riches. Can’t we create a rating system where those individuals are rated higher who have given more to others than they have received; where they put the needs of whole planet before their own needs?
When we have a psychology of taking everything from the society and the Nature, we are doomed by the feeling of scarcity. Today we have created our world full of scarcity. Scarcity creates insecurity, competition, rivalries, separation with others and extreme self-centredness.
But if we inculcate the spirit of giving, we always live in the world of abundance. Abundance creates security, satisfaction, peace, unity and happiness in us and makes us give and share the resources with the needy. Sharing and giving generates strong bonding, love and care for the others; spreads love and happiness everywhere. And there is no denying in the saying that what we give comes around.
Steem is as beautiful as Planet Earth
Steem is one example of the spirit of giving. When you give selflessly, you create strong bonds and relationships with others. What a beautiful way to create strong social bonding with complete strangers! Here we have an abundant reward pool to share with everyone ...but only if everyone shares it selflessly.
Unfortunately, our social conditioning of self-centeredness comes into play here too and people starts abusing the system. We keep abusing our resources everyday in the real world too and we bring the same trait in Steem ecosystem too.
Abuse has gained social acceptance and is invisible to most of us. Instead, some abuses like tax-evasions, hoarding piles of black-money etc. comes into the category of white-collar crime. Most of the society is very tolerant and accepting of such criminals.
We need to change that mindset. Perhaps we need to create a different system than the present capitalist era to fix it forever.
- Do you think the Capitalism/ Communism/ Socialism or any other socio-economic system is good enough?
- Or do we need to evolve a better system?
- Any suggestions for designing such a system?