Being in a boisterous running group of the city like Secunderabad runners has its own rewards, some of which include, waking up to inspiring and thought provoking messages by fellow runners. What caught my attention today was one such inspiring message by Carlos Slim about competition, “Competition makes you better, always, always makes you better, even if the competitor wins.” How relatable, though I have never possessed killer instincts, competition have always inspired me to do better, to be better and transform myself into some imaginary ideal.
Contemplating about the statement, I laced up my trainers, and as a matter of habit, checked WhatsApp messages one last time. Surprisingly, a statement as simple as that had another perspective, too. Another fellow runner, as a counter statement, wrote against the quote, “True…But finally it’s the self-motivation which gets you the real dividends. It’s always about YOU vs YOU. Competition always exists within ourselves!” It was just another perspective and I should had ignored it, but the sane part of my mind never ignored anything. I kept thinking about both the quote and its counter quote during my tiring run laps after laps at Indira Park.
Competition, with or within?
Life offers interesting parables for competitions. Competition begins well before the birth, when millions of sperms compete with each other. Their long and arduous journey ends with the successful fusion of the fastest sperm with the ovum; any sperm reaching after the fusion perishes.
Recent debate about the behavior of Serena Williams during the game with Naomi Osaka brought the fierceness of the competition to the forefront. What if there were no Naomi fighting against Serena, would she still had the same attitude about the competition? As games–as fierce as Football or as Tennis–can get plagued by competition, and our view about the winning may change.
Taking examples from sports – as mundane as running – may shed more light on the role of competition in our lives. What would happen, if you just remove the competition from running, would the runner get the same thrill that he gets after breaking a world record by a whisker? Will the winning have the same meaning as it has now? Who would pour years of work, blood, and sweat into any sports if the competition between others similarly trained athletes is removed?
Every individual draws inspiration and energy from different sources, and these tiny little goals power dreams of people to better themselves. In this pursuit of chasing an imaginary goal, we outgrow our limitations.
Learning from cave man
Ever wondered, how humans learned, developed as a species, and eventually outgrew all other competing species on earth. Human ancestors had neither the luxury of technology, nor strength of wild beats. Jungle offered the severest form of competition, as you try to get food for yourself or become food for others. Despite these odds humans not only survived but became the most successful species on earth. Imagine
Perspective and tunnel vision
To succeed in the competition with the outside world, we must compete first with our inner self, and both quotes are justified provided they are applied in a balanced proportion to our lives. Any idea can act as the most powerful force of the universe, and while taking its extreme form it can also consume the individual pursuing it.