“Enemies are so stimulating.” Katherine Hepburn
The Oxford English Dictionary defines competition as “the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others.” I know many people who happily describe themselves as competitive, in fact they wear it almost as though it werea badge of honour, something to sing about, to boast about. And I have seen them in action, and they are right, they are competitive. No matter how small, how insignificant, how trivial, they get down and dirty and play to win. I on the other hand struggle with the whole concept of competition. I mean if I was an Olympian athelete I might be okay with describing myself as competitive, but I’m not, and for that matter neither are those other folks. I know competition is good and to go down the road of having either no winners, or everyone is a winner, is just as problematic; and yet I still am very uncomfortable with it. Perhaps the reason for my discomfort stems from the implication of superiority, the idea that I am better than you that is the cornerstone, well more than just a cornerstone, the very foundation of competition, that galls me. It’s not that I think we are all equally good at everything, I readily accept the opposite. It’s just that a lot of the time people now see everything as a competition and thanks to new media forums like Facebook, have access to a wider audience to inform of their successes or feats. What is the root of this need to tell others of our accomplishments or of our great social lives other than a desire to demonstrate how much better we are, how much better our lives are? In short how superior we are? Now I realise this could make me sound bitter or jealous and in truth there have been times when I have felt a little green, as I have had to endure endless reports of achievements , good fortune or great triumphs. But as I’ve said before green is so not my colour. And from the looks of things neither was it Ms Hepburn’s. Now it may be just semantics but I much rather the idea of using the success stories of others to encourage my own success stories. Less of a ‘I’m better than you’ vibe and more of a ‘hey if they can do it so can I.’ Our stories may be different as per our own set of unique talents or preferences, but essentially our goals are the same. I may not bore, I mean talk, about my deeds to others but it matters not. If by their talk I have pushed myself a little more, set the bar a little higher and most importantly I have risen to these new heights, then I owe them nothing but thanks. Their competitiveness, their desire for superiority has had the knock-on effect of encouraging me to do better without upsetting my egalitarian ideals. So it’s a win-win for me. And green may not suit me but gold, gold, I like.