We live in a world where every society has a different level of freedom. Although, many types of societies have different rulings on this freedom, some with less and some with more, there is one freedom that runs consistently through the world, and that is the freedom to choose our own thoughts and response. No matter what happens to us, we are the only ones who control our minds and ultimately the direction of our responses to these happenings, good or bad. This is part of being human and will never change, this has been true since the beginning of human history. We have the freedom to respond with courage, bravery, and kindness, or with doubt, cowardice, and revenge. It has been demonstrated throughout history in our heroes and villains, and in our athletes through competition. Whether it be war, sport, or the business world, competing is part of who we are. More so now than ever, competition receives a negative connotation, and for valid reasoning, competition for most of civilization has brought war, slavery, hunger, and depression over entire societies. However, it has also brought prosperity, truth, triumph, growth, and wellbeing to the entire world. Competition has a way of forcing the individual’s hand into a response. The growth we have experienced from the brave and courageous has been so vital to the survival of mankind; we have seen that we learn from competition, we grow from it, and we prosper. We currently live in the most peaceful time of all human history when most of competition is seen in sport rather than bloodshed, but it seems we are running from competition now more than ever. Humanity has come so far from competition, without it we would never have gone to the moon (and now pushing to colonize mars), developed life saving technologies, ran 100m’s in under 10s, humanity is amazing and continues to have exponential potential to do great things, but we need competition to do it. Competition has been the platform for our societal growth, without its highs and lows we have no means to push for learning, achievements, or even self discovery.
The answer is not to avoid competition by eradicating scoring methods and handing out participation trophies to make everyone feel the instant gratification of being equals, because the truth is that we are not equal, we have different strengths, weaknesses, fears, and passions, which run so deep that it’s challenging to discern them even for ourselves.
Our scores on the whiteboard are important because they do elicit a competitive response allowing us to learn about ourselves and others in our community. The answer, therefore, is but to relish and embrace competition, relish in the learning that comes with it’s failures and successes. It is up to us as individuals to answer with a paralyzing response to competition of worry and shame, or with a growth response of learning, courage, and exercise our ability to compete in a productive way.