Does Competition Set You Up For Failure?

by Brian

competitionI’ve always been competitive. Being the oldest brother of 5 children drove me to strive for top dog, in everything I did. Over the course of my life, my independence and drive to be the best took me to levels I didn’t believe to be possible.

I believed, for a long time, that I could do anything that I wanted on my own. Period.

These last few weeks I’ve been inspired, driven by a force that leaves me feeling emotions I’m not comfortable feeling. Opening myself up to the idea of love is frightening, scary, and leaves my independent nature vulnerable to outside influences.

I’m 20 years old, and my whole life I’ve masked my emotion with leadership. In times of trial and tribulation I’d grind out work on my own, instead of asking for any outside help. This mindset allowed me to succeed, but more often than not, was the inevitable cause of my failures.

Cam Adair, founder of Kingpin Social recently came across a movie that he wanted to show us. The movie’s title is “I Am”, and the movie asks one question that leaves the viewer to think on.

“At the core of our humanity, were we born to compete, or to cooperate?”

I think that competition is a part of our human nature that cannot be neglected. To be the best man has been engrained into our society, and whether or not at the root of our humanity we were born to be competitive, here we are in the 21st century glued to the stock markets. To know whether we were born to be a collective, or to cooperate, is a question that may never be answered. Especially with the system that we live in today. Competition is here to stay, there’s no doubt about it.

What about this idea of collectiveness? What is this all about, anyways?

You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours..

to cooperateThe idea of collectiveness is laughed at, and scorned by  mass amounts of society. Occupy Calgary is a great example of this idea. There were human beings coming together to represent a voice, and the media ridiculed them every chance they got. The message was delivered to the public from a biased perspective, which caused a collective consciousness of negativity towards the movement. Anybody that steps out of the system that we currently have in place, to work together as a collective and have a voice, is shunned and laughed at.

Now, I’m not saying I’m a supporter of Occupy Calgary. I disagree with a lot of the ideas that they represented. The fact of the matter is, they represented an idea. They came together, bonded in times of struggle and refused to back down when they wanted to send a message. Their message was clear; they were fed up (for “X” amounts of reasons) and they were going to work together as a collective to spread that message.

Why is this idea of cooperation ridiculed in today’s society? The notion of walking a lady across the street is a cool idea, but how many people actually execute? Giving a homeless man the change that you wouldn’t use anyways seems to make sense, helping another human being. Why do most of us walk by, occupied by the small issues in our own mind, in our own life?

At the core of our humanity, I believe we were born to cooperate. I believe we were born to work together, to create something greater than our individual selves. This competitive society that we were born into causes us to think for ourselves; only wishing for outcomes that ultimately benefit the individual. The reality of the situation is this: you need enough money, food, shelter, etc. to survive, and any excess amount that you own, you’re holding excess value that you don’t need, that could save  another person’s life.

The Monetary Flaw

The idea of “give value freely, expect nothing in return” is trivialized in the eyes of society, because society attaches the idea of “value” to “money”. This mindset is flawed, in fact, it’s completely backwards. Money is a representation of the time and energy that you put into anything. We live in a world that monetizes by the hour, giving you “x” amount of value for your time and energy put into the job. Money is a representation of time, and energy.

Time and energy are the ultimate form of value. Give value freely, expect nothing in return does not mean money. Money is one way that you can give value, because it does represent energy. Money is not the best way to give value, though. The best way to give value, is to donate your time and energy into helping another human being. The best way to give value, is to step outside of the mind of the self, and open your eyes to see that you are not the only person that walks this earth.

Your problems are minuscule, when placed on the spectrum of the world.

lend a helping handThis isn’t an “African Charity” speech. All you have to do is open your eyes and look at our city streets. How many people walk the winter air, homeless? We walk three blocks in the weather and complain about the cold. Our society operates on a notion of ridicule; laughing at those less fortunate than us. In reality, those are people that need help. Those are people that need time and energy. There are always people that need time and energy, the greatest form of value that you can offer.

It isn’t just with the strangers in this world, that this value equation applies to either. This is true with your family members, your friends, your significant other.

Another person’s negative emotion tends to be written off by the individual; for the individual has only his emotional state in mind. We must open our eyes and see beyond ourselves. Somebody’s negative emotion ; anger, sadness, depression, anxiety; is a cry  for help, in the most basic form of communication.

The baby does not tell you it’s sadness, it cries. When it cries, you know that it wants something. Instead of sitting on the couch watching your favorite TV show while the baby cries, get up and help it. Give your time and energy to the people in your life that are struggling, that are going through a hard time. Instead of writing off your fellow man, being happy that you’re doing better than him; do your best to help him. Invest your time and energy into the emotional state of another human being.

Give the ultimate form of value; time, energy and love to the people around you that need it the most. I believe that we were born to work as a collective, not as a competitive society. “Give, and you shall receive”, a notion attached to the idea of time and energy. Good karma, bad karma is based on the time and energy that you invest into anything. Invest time and energy into a skill set, you will receive better skills. Invest time and energy into your fellow man, and they will do the same for you.

Invest time and energy, into a representation of  time and energy (money), at the end of the day you’ll be stuck with a useless stack of time and energy.

The Social Dynamics Movement

I came to that realization a month ago today, and my monthly reflection is summed up in this next sentence. I am powerful on my own, I am unstoppable with a support system interested in investing time and energy, the greatest form of value, into each other. Collective, cooperative, either way success is the only option.

helping others

The power of cooperation, which comes from giving value freely, is an unstoppable movement that money could never buy. This is the Social Dynamics movement, and we won’t stop until the world decides to work together as a collective. It’s up to you, and me, to be the voice that helps the fellow person.

About Brian
Brian is a firm believer in living in the present. Brian lives his life by the philosophy “Act for the future, not because of the past.” He is a passionate writer, a sober socialite and aspires to be a positive influence to everyone he interacts with. Read more about Brian here.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Liam December 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Value is this near-infinite thing. It’s a really complex concept to someone who doesn’t think in terms of value before price. Value shal exist so long as people have needs to satisfy. Money will exist so long as people need to quantify their needs by some standard of metric. Oscar Wilde said “The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing” That certainly implies that the cynic is one who sees everything in terms of cost, how much it will take from him. This type of individual BY DEFAULT searches for the negative in situations and people without knowing it, and without realising the harm they do themselves. Value is not a singular, tangible, nor material thing. That is why 95% of people can’t grasp it. They can only see things they have lost, yet their imagination is sluggish and unexercised in ways to find how they can gain money (and happiness, and success) from value. It’s the natural law of economy. Man didn’t invent economy, its an intrinsic part of the universe that has always existed, and those who don’t get that trading something valuable so you can have money, don’t get that you’re trading something essentially infinite, for the temporary, and without being moralizing, such is their life.

Liam December 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Heck if you want to look at evolution, the colonization of the earth by living things was 90% cooperation. Sadly, I can’t cite where I heard this statistic. We need competetive force in the world so that we can prosper, but even the most competetive guys I know (no, especially them) understand there is far greater strength in putting pride aside and asking for help than attempting to crush the opposition with the expectation of the opposition to do the same to you. North American culture just is that way, too bad because what it breeds is 1) Quitters who had high hopes, but stopped trying because someone told them their dream was “impossible”, and 2) Bullies who are actually prepetually sad, and depressed because they are human, they want love as much as you or I, and they have dreams they will never accomplishe because they shut out everyone from their lives except fake “friends” who wish ill upon them.

Brian Mark December 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Liam, I’m glad you comment. To be honest, I feel oddly inspired after reading your comment; knowing there is someone out there that shares common goals and interests. Those common goals and interests push towards a collective consciousness to which “cost” is no longer a factor, and people are only thinking about how much they can give into the world. If everyone gives, than everyone gets.

Liam December 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Good, glad you’re inspired. I just hear what you guys at Kingpin Social are saying, and kind of feel like everybody should know this, like there should be some kind of manual you’re given at birth outlining how to succeede in the face of adversity and other crucial life lessons. But there isn’t, most people just go through hard times, sometimes they come out stronger, other times they just get hurt. I’m in Edmonton, and the city has its fair share of hurting people. It would just be cool if all people knew and practiced basic good will, we’d live in a differnet place no doubt.

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