A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.
From the moment we are slapped on our newborn behinds, we are in constant competition. The prettiest baby. The oldest twin. The smartest student. The fastest runner. The first to graduate college. The first to get married. The first to have a baby. The first to own a vacation house. The most successful novelist. The list goes on and on.
Even the most trivial of pursuits, like who can eat their dinner and get away from the table first or guess the exact amount of jelly beans in a jar are turned into a diehard competition. Society is always watching, always judging and we are urged, cajoled, humiliated and even threatened to continue this bad yet widely acceptable behavior.
If you were to channel-surf, you'd find that television networks thrive on competition. Their motives seem obvious from the aggressive food commercials, insurance commercials, game shows, survival shows, cooking shows, fashion shows, pageant shows—heck, even the cartoons pit characters against the other.
Despite what we've been taught, Life is not a race, it's a journey.
If I were an alien visiting this planet, I might think that the human race is IN a race -- not to love one another—but to win the title of "best", "biggest" or "most". And we continue to perpetuate these actions as "normal". But at what cost?
Detractors would say there's nothing wrong with a little "healthy" competition. Trying to beat the other guy helps build character, it's part of the human experience and challenges us to be better so that we might achieve the ultimate prize—that shiny brass ring or fatted calf or whatever we think should be our great reward for a job well done.
Derek Rydall, author of There's No Business Like Soul Business, says that "when you align yourself with the principal of oneness, get out of the game of competition and into the flow of cooperation, you are in league with the intimate power of the Universe." Rydall adds that competition has caused "more greed, violence, poverty and destruction than almost any other force on the planet."
From what I've seen, competition impales one's self-esteem. (Kids who were always chosen last for playground games know exactly what I mean.) It is the premise of wars and hate, but it also stems from fear, from believing that if we don't compete, we will lose at this game of Life. We won't have enough. There will be lack. And we are dearly afraid of that.
Truth is, there is more than enough abundance for everybody, so why let fear get the best of us?
Let's get off this rivalry rollercoaster now and promote unity instead of duality! Here are eight simple choices for writers who wish to be more mindful with their thoughts and words:
Stop judging—those you know and those you've only read about. Accept them as they are.
Avoid watching anything on television which promotes competition. If this means the only entertainment available is to write or read a book, well, why not?
Teach your children not to judge, but to discern with an open heart. Help them understand and accept the differences of others. Everyone has something valuable to contribute.
Choose your words wisely. Write articles to build hope and offer positive solutions to your reader's problems.
Abstain from people-bashing in articles, blogs and social media.
Refuse to post book reviews which condemn or criticize an author's published work.
Bless your fellow writers and businesses and support the success of everyone.
Reject all challenges to compete.