Months ago, I had written an article related to competition & why it is so dangerous! This time, I’d address the same topic from a different perspective. This one would be quite similar to previous one, but quite different too, & hopefully shorter!

Let me begin this discussion with few simple questions.

What happens when you come first in any competition? What happens when you come second? What happens when you come third? And what happens when you don’t get any position at all?

Think about these 4 conditions – when you come first, when you come second, third & finally, no position at all. There’ll be noticeable difference in your emotions in all these 4 conditions. As position decreases, hope & happiness also decrease. And any observer can clearly observe differences both in your emotions & your activities for few days.

In the first condition, when you come first, it feels like you’ve achieved everything; you’re at the top of the world. In the second condition, when you come second, it feels you could have done better; but still okay, better luck next time. In the third condition, when you come third, it feels that things are not as you expected, you feel quite depressed, but still a spark of hope lies in a corner of your mind that you could secure a position. But in the fourth condition, when you lose the competition, don’t get any position at all, you feel that everything has gone, there’s no hope of success, there’s simply nothing, you break down, & sometimes wonder it’d have been better you born as a bird & not as a human, where there’ll be no competition, no fear of failure, just free to move.

So these’re 4 different conditions with 4 different emotions. What did you see in these conditions? Or what did you learn from these? In the very first condition, when you come first, your world fills with hopes which give birth to future successes. But when you don’t get anything, your world becomes hopeless & dark which give birth to future failure. So things are not going on well. If you do a very deep analysis in the activities of people; you’ll see that in most of the cases, competition makes people hopeless, dreamless & pessimistic. In a matter of seconds, your bright world turns dark. When it comes to winning, things are more than good. But when it comes to losing, things are more than worst. In our as usual practice, we all tell that you should learn from competition. You shouldn’t feel anything bad when you lose. Participation is more important than winning or losing. But honestly, it’s really not true. Winning is winning & losing is losing. Despite your best efforts, if you don’t get anything, you feel extremely depressed. But what about kids who’ve just put their feet in this world & are pushed to the world of competition? Can they withstand failures always? Can they withstand depressions of their parents when they lose? Definitely no. At the very beginning, things don’t become noticeable. But as time pass by, effects become quite noticeable. There’re educated parents who teach their children to learn & not to compete. But on the other hand, there’re a lot of parents who expect really a lot from performances of their children & always encourage them to compete. Personally too, I’ve seen many parents who are really very much concerned about performances of their children since their very admission to school. In class 1 itself, they can’t afford losing a single mark in exam by their children. Being concerned about learning & education is different from being concerned about marks & performance. From a bird’s eye view, no difference can be seen. But a detailed analysis always shows huge differences between them. I’ll discuss this shortly.

Let’s try to depict the journey of a student since his/her first class. In the very first day, his/her parents will ask him/her to remember all the alphabets, numbers from 1-10 or 20, names of animals, birds, fruits & all these things. They prepare their child as his/she is going for a war! As days pass by, they’ll keep on consulting his/her teachers for feedback about their child. If they get anything negative, simply anything, they start focusing more & more in his/her studies. Now, the final exam has come. Both mom & dad will give rigorous training to their child. If mom takes the test for alphabets in morning, dad takes the test for names of animals & birds in evening. They do so much hard work in studies of their child that they themselves hadn’t do in their own studies! Now it’s the exam day. They’ll send their child with lots of wishes & blessings & high expectations. During the way to school, they’ll ask him/her to recall whatever was taught & if possible, will take a pre-test too! As the exam ends, they’ll rush to their child in sweat & tension if he/she has attempted everything well. If the answer is ‘yes’, then, it becomes the happiest moment in their life & if ‘no’, then, it feels to them that everything has finished. And after a wait of sweat & tension, the results have finally arrived. Both mom & dad will go with their child to take the results. They seem as being going to take the result of any entrance exam! If he/she gets 100 out of 100, then, all the world’s joy comes to the lives of his/her parents. And if he/she gets 99 out of 100, then, all the world’s sorrow comes to the lives of his/her parents! And the child will need to listen to hours of lecture from his/her parents & the study hours will be increased & other activities will be decreased. This is quite funny, but more than true; at least, as far as I’ve seen. And these things keep on going & in fact, get doubled every year. By the time, the child complete his/her school education, he/she turns to a soldier, parents & teachers become trainers, fellow students become enemies, school & home become defense academy & finally, exam becomes battleground. And the results are nothing but lose, lose & lose.

So in the end of the day, what have you learnt? Well, a child, in the end, will be left with no one else than a soldier of a war. And who among you love wars? To be really very honest, I’ll suggest you – if you’re one who loves wars – then you’d definitely love competitions & there’s no meaning of reading this. But if not, then, you’re most welcome. So let’s start…

As discussed in the very beginning, I had asked you some questions – What happens when you come first in any competition? What happens when you come second? What happens when you come third? And what happens when you don’t get any position at all? And I had also discussed about different outputs of these 4 situations. And…here’re the loses we can think of from these situations – you become hopeless, pessimistic, dreamless, you start fearing challenges, you keep depressed most of the time when you lose, your natural tendency for learning decreases & you study only for marks or credits, you consider yourself inferior to others, you don’t want to do anything new or creative…and there’re lots of loses. Successive loses in any competition would definitely make you hopeless about future successes. Your natural desire of doing something decreases. You don’t possess enough energy for doing anything. It feels like you can never succeed. Moreover, you become pessimistic. You also become dreamless. You can’t imagine yourself doing something big. You always feel inferior to others. And there’re lots of other negative things that you experience. To conclude, your potentials are left unnoticed.

Moreover, you don’t study because you want to. You study because you need marks & otherwise, you’ll be seen as losers. By these things, your natural tendency of learning decreases. You become computer – one that stores data & use it for a particular purpose. The biggest disadvantage of competition is that you don’t realize your potentials. And in fact this is the most important topic of this discussion.

Competition forces your mind & body to devote your full energy to achieve a particular goal. You work really hard for it. Also you get pressure & stress. After the competition, your only aim is to do better than your competitors. In the result time, if you win by a difference of one point too, you feel that you’ve achieved everything. And if you lose by a difference of one point too, you feel that you’ve lost everything. Moreover, most the competitions demand for common talents. So as a result of all these things, you fail to explore your true potentials. You become more & more engaged in competing with others. If your rival scores 10% too, your aim becomes to score 11% or more! As a result of which you never feel that you can do better than this. In any competition if you win, it’s ok. But if you lose, then, lots of negative changes come to your life. And you really can’t feel that something wrong is going on with you. Also, there’s nothing like you can win. In any competition, there’s almost 50-50 chance of your wining.

Shifting our topic a bit, competition prevents the natural tendency of learning. You don’t learn because you want to, but you learn (even the world ‘learn’ is not perfect here) because you need to. There’s nothing natural about it. You need to be pushed to learn. Once the push is off, you stop learning. There’s always a reason behind what you’re doing – doing better than others. You never get the natural call from your mind that you really love it & that’s why you’re going to do this. You always need a push behind you to do something. There’re huge differences between learning by interest & learning by force or for sake of doing better. People who do by interest always remain as inspiration for billions. But people who do by force are never reminded. Do you know why? Because those who do by interest are those who change the world, those who leave marks upon whatever they do. Ok, you don’t want to be successful in life, you don’t want to change the world, you don’t want to be reminded, you don’t want to leave marks; and then, too, you should do what you love the most because you’ve got one life. You’ve not got more than one life that you’ll do all the frustrating works in this life & interesting works in others. You’ve got a one life. You need to enjoy it. Things what you do by force are those that sucks, they make you frustrated. There’re also people who lived their passions, but they couldn’t do that much significant. But the most important thing is that they enjoyed their lives because they love what they do. But in the competition driven life, you never feel the tastes of life. You feel everyday as war – war against your friends, war against everyone. Your sole motive is to surpass others. And when you can’t, it hurts the most. From an education point of view, competition never makes you a learner; it just makes you a soldier. Your world always gets confined with marks, degrees & all these things. You can never realize your potentials. There were people in the world; thousands of years from today, who changed the world with revolutionary ideas, & those who’re remembered till date. Do you know why? Because they were wanderers, explorers, free of boundaries. They did whatever they want to. There were nothing like competition that you need to come first at any cost. There may be personal competitions between people, but there was nothing like what we’re facing today. In today’s scenario, there’re less innovators in compare to quality of education & developments. Why? Because competition is also a part of this. Everyone is in the race to be better than others. But in the process, they leave themselves behind, & forget that before ‘others’, there’re ‘themselves’. They’ve to do best use of their own potentials. And always keep in mind that everyone is unique in respect to their potentials & overall personality. Because they can’t make use of their potentials, they fail to withstand the challenges of this world.

There’re people out there who feels that competition serves as a motivation. It encourages to push against the limit. It never let you stop. And even if you lose, it teaches you a lot to win. Ok, to some extent, I do agree with the fact that sometimes competition serves as motivation. But it always comes with lots of side effect, some of which are already mentioned here. And motivation comes without any side effects when you live your passion. When you do for your passion, you’re always motivated. And this comes without any side effect. To cite my own example, my passion is to revolutionize our world with the power of technologies & to do all these with my own company. Now, the very feeling of this, gives me a very different level of excitement & thrill. And what I do is only for this passion. So, I don’t need other motivation to succeed. Only this is enough to succeed. And this comes without side effect. Moreover, this is purely natural. I don’t need to be pushed or forced to do something. And this is the most important thing. Another example is when I get results of my exams. Since very beginning, I’m not a competitor. I don’t love competing. It feels really frustrated. Also my parents encourage me not to compete & only to focus on self-learning. But a year ago, I used to compete a bit. And this was solely because fellow students use to show off when they get marks near to me or a mark above that. I really hate that. I don’t have problem if anyone get more than me. But you shouldn’t show off. And so I had little bit competing mind. When I get results of my exams, I always used to take tension. And if I don’t get marks as expected, or get a mark less than some of my topmost rivals, I used to be quite depressed for 2-3 hours! But a year later, the scenario has changed completely. I don’t care about others. I don’t compete at all. Nor do my parents say anything about my performance. Because both my parents & I know that competition is of no worth & it’s better to focus on self-improvement & self-learning. And because of that I don’t take tension in giving exams or taking results. Nor do I care if anyone scores more than me. I’m just focused on myself. Also I know that I’m best in myself, in my world. Moreover, even if I score a little less, I’m very hopeful of my future. I know that things are ok, there’s no need to worry. If I work well, I’d be able to do better in the world & especially, because I know that I’m better in this real world.

Now, what can you conclude from my example? 1. When you live your passion, you’re always motivated & that comes without side effects. 2. When you don’t compete, you enjoy your life & you become hopeful about your future.

And believe me, I’m not just telling you all these. I’ve seen many failing because of competition. You really live a life full of frustrations & all sorts of odds when you compete. And for what you need to compete? For motivation? Ok, then living your passion alone can make you motivated. And believe me, competing will never make you successful. Success is all about your passion, dedication, hard work, planning, determination, self-improvement. It’s not about competition & will never be about it. Believe me. Moreover, always be focused on self-improvement & self-learning. All you need is to improve your personality by learning by yourself. There should be a call from inside that you love this & that’s why you’re going to do this. You should feel that. And that’s your passion, your interest. And this doesn’t come by competing; it’s solely natural.

So without making all these things long (I think I’ve already made it quite long!), I just want to put a single conclusion – COMPETITION IS NOT AT ALL GOOD. IT ALWAYS ENDS YOU UP WITH NOTHING BUT LOSE, LOSE & LOSE.

 

Copyright©2011-13 Sandeep Deva Misra

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