I am not a competitive man. I never have been so. I realized at an early age I could not compete physically, so I dropped out of many aspects of life, particularly sports. I have never cared to compete ever since. If I had talent or skills that got me something, so be it. If competition determined who moved on/up etc. I bowed out.
I usually find competitive people boorish or nasty – either way they are intense. They don’t seem to know when to stop viz. everything is a theatre for competition. I don’t have any “Type As” in my social network. This is no surprise really, for am not ‘quality’ to these types, nor do I play their games. I will never be on any A-list.
C.S. Lewis wrote the whole philosophy of hell rests upon the axiom that one thing is not another, and one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses. “To be” means “to be in competition”. This summarizes competition – it is hell. **
As a psychiatrist I see lots of patients suffering the consequences of the “win or die” approach. They don’t need medication; they need to slow down. I tell them they need to let go, and (horror!) be content. They usually don’t stick around, for they find my advice repellent or ‘impossible’. I suppose they do well in life but they don’t live long, and I dare say they are not very happy.
I fear our obsession with competition will be our downfall. Mankind has to evolve beyond this philosophy or no one will make it. If you have never read Ursula K. LeGuin’s short story The ones who walk away from Omelas it summarizes things nicely. If competition means someone must lose/suffer I don’t want to be a part of it.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I want to keep going and find it.
**Mr. Lewis thought Heaven was a contradiction: things are to be many yet somehow also one. The good of one self is to be the good of another. This is Love.