From the minute we’re born, we’re encouraged to be competitive with our siblings, our peers and to some extent in society too. We’re expected to conform, to compete and to win.
I have never bought into the idea that it’s more important to win, primarily because it takes a few minutes to bask in the glory of winning, but it takes a lifetime to understand how to deal with losing.
There is evidence to suggest that competition can be destructive. Unfortunately, it’s not just something that’s exclusive to children, adults have to work through the same principles too. In the same way educated parents educate their children, competitive parents push their children to be competitive. In a way I was lucky. I wasn’t born to competitive parents so that made life easier.
Competing is part of the DNA structure and changes our perceptions on life and each other. When it comes to competing, everything we’ve been taught goes out the window as we strive to become even more competitive. I believe it’s more important to encourage children to work together, to co-operate in ways they will understand.
When we learn to co-operate with each other we learn how to be a team player. That gets you further in life. It can be very lonely at the top. If we do take part in something, fundamentally someone has to win, that’s the nature of life but the most important concept will always be the taking part, how well we play, not the winning itself.
It’s genuinely hard for those of us who have to compete, but never win. Have you ever noticed in sports day, or school prize giving, it’s always the same children who come out on top? I believe the taking part is more important. It always will be.
At the end of the day we won’t all have the same abilities, but living in a competitive world, often means we’re left with no choice. There have to be better ways.