Why and How not to compete in Life?
However, unrealistic and unworkable the thought of prospering in society and not competing may seem, still certainly it is crucial to become successful and stay happy in life. It is imperative to understand that happiness is the key to success and competition is rapidly detaching us from happiness.
Hearing the mottoes such as ‘win at any cost’, ‘better than the best’, and ‘succeed in life’ not only inspired us to compete but mutely addicted us to compete. Hence, what was ought to be a part of life became the life itself.
As too many competitions were lined up unceasingly, fear of losing and getting rejected made no room for a respite to celebrate the achievement and consider how long the pleasure of winning resided.
Let us put a light on the rationale behind it-
Being humans we crave for approval and admiration, thus seeing the successful ones gaining acceptance and thus joy while unsuccessful ones getting disapproval and pain, inspirited us to make a notion that success is the key to happiness. We started chasing success and made vying as the strong foundation to succeed. Whenever we won, society considered us valuable; and we felt delighted and motivated to compete again and again. Because our happiness was based on recognition from society; on the grounds that more recognition will lead to more happiness in life, we thought it would be astute to give up our goals and focus on to the best considered by the society.
Hence, sooner or later, all the chronic discontentment and unrest makes us awfully lackadaisical and to an extent disinterested to spur ourselves into motion further. All we are left with is an inexplicable quandary in our hands with an empty heart full of unanswerable questions such as what went wrong, where is the happiness, why I am unsatisfied even after working so hard?
And in an effort to pacify the restlessness, we end up blaming destiny, God and people around us.
Sounds disheartening, heartbreaking!!
But isn’t it justified enough?
Absolutely, it is. Because even after being reminded that ‘Happiness is a journey not the destination’, we still looked for it instead of living happily. Dissatisfaction is apparent as how can anyone feel content by moving according to other’s choice in each sphere of life. And what went wrong was unceasingly contending for the unwanted.
Therefore, right now, the questions to be considered are-
Why can’t we make ourselves happy? Why we need other person’s effort to make our life joyful? Why our relationships are terribly based on mutual admiration? Why are we investing all our energy in competing and not for any other thing in life? Why don’t we let it go?
Is it so arduous to leave? Even if it is, Is it beneficial enough to stand for?
If not, isn’t it better to turnaround now rather than to risk life and regret later, before our habit of competing gets more entrenched.
By competing constantly, we became inclined to win and have moved far away from the aspects of learning and enjoying the competition. Moreover, it has dropped our self-esteem, thus resulting in traits such as not believing on self, not relishing the choices made by self, fear of losing and substantial dependency on others. Acknowledging that we all are different with distinct potential, proficiency, habitat, circumstances, commitments, family life, and moreover, different aspirations, inclinations and preferences, is of paramount importance.
The need of the hour is to do what works for you; as what works for one person may not work for another.
For instance, X gets tired by morning walk of 15 minutes, but Y comfortably walks for 30 minutes. Y doesn’t believe in competing while for X competition is a motivating factor, a fuel to get him going. Let us see how much acceptable it is for X to get motivated to stretch time as an age-mate Y comfortably walks for 30 minutes?
Shouldn’t X consider that walking 30 minutes may affect his health? If yes it would affect, what an irony it would be, the special time and efforts which were for ameliorating health, due to competing will deteriorate health. Wasn’t it better to not walk instead? On the contrary, if no, it won’t affect his health, shouldn’t X consider that may be Y walks after taking sufficient rest and he himself walks after performing household chore, which is crucial for his family. After considering the difference in circumstances, isn’t it thoughtless on X’s part to defer the household responsibility to someone else and walk for 30 minutes or 45 minutes to win? This way he would be doing what he doesn’t want to do i.e. walking, forsaking what he loved to do i.e. household chore, so plainly no satisfaction, no happiness and as he is unaccustomed to walk so long, thereby will unsettle his physical health. Thus, eventually he will be seeking help from his family instead of providing assistance to them. Also think of the guilt feelings that will develop. Is it a move anticipated by a mature, successful and responsible human?
Also, after seeing that Y doesn’t perform household chore, by all odds, it would be unsound for X to feel superior about taking walk in spite of working or to reduce the walk time to 10 minutes, thinking it is sufficient for him. His superiority complex will only disturb himself; enrooting anxiety and insecurity, not Y who is not involved in competition.
Wasn’t it wise on part of X, to set his time limit for walk, in accordance with his lifestyle keeping in mind the purpose of walk i.e. to ameliorate health and well being, neither trying to win over nor getting influenced by Y’s action.
What if another person Z joins who believes life becomes challenging because of competition, life would be pretty bland without it. He doesn’t want or is not able to consider his own circumstances and responsibilities and just wants to win at any cost, move ahead and become superior, so he walks for 1 hour and wins. Was that righteous the way he was heedless towards his circumstances and responsibilities? Is it prudent to compete and win over him, will the wining be worthwhile?
X used competition as motivating factor, troubled him and still couldn’t win. Meanwhile, Y’s stamina increases and he starts walking 40 minutes.
Being cognizant of what happened with X, Y and Z, don’t you think not competing could have produced more favorable outcome for X and Z also?
Aforementioned instance was a small scale, localized anecdote, but in life we cross path with many people with whom we compare and compete without acquainting with them. As Willa Cather quoted “The heart of another is a dark forest always, no matter how close it has been to one’s own”. So, you never know, may be the person you compete with most could be someone like X or Z, not worthy to compete with, or may be like Y, who is not competing. Also, may be on an impulse to win you could have turned into someone like X or Z. If we constantly compare and compete, we are becoming our own enemy. We are getting envious, exhausted, frustrated, dishonest, stressed and moreover anti-social, not able to keep up with people around us.
Even a bit of assessing will convince you that, you would have not only achieved better but also felt more happiness and more satisfaction if you hadn’t wasted time and efforts in challenging others.
Regretting and still fighting won’t get you anywhere. Hence, we should recognize and respect everyone’s choice, feelings and efforts and not weigh them against each other. There are and will always be people above and below us at work and home, instead of comparing and competing, it would be fruitful to cooperate and inspire those below and get inspired by those above.
Everybody is competitive, if you want to make a difference, try to become cooperative and self-motivated instead.
Competing in an unhealthy manner – in one aspect neglecting other aspects – is not only futile but also uncomplicated. If you want to make your life challenging, adventuresome would be to do your best for today, better than yesterday, maintaining the possessed uniqueness i.e. yours and your family’s health and well being.
There’s nothing quite as gratifying as when you define your own success, being the judge yourself, no competitors, no one to blame on, you continue to thrive in and you get immensely pleasant results. Moreover, it boosts your proficiency as gradually you master the skill of balancing your life.
As Steve Maraboli said “At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets”.
If you think ‘competition with self’ is worth trying, please don’t stop yourself, due to any fear, from quitting the ‘competition with others’ at least for few days, meanwhile, allowing yourself and people around to live the life they want to. Believe me, you have the potential, just give it a chance and pen down how you felt in the comment box below and share it with others.
Life is too short, don’t take it for granted and waste it to lose its oneness.
Featured Image from Pixabay