Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Continual Competition…

…life is just that.

You can’t try to beat it,

because by beating it,

you’re joining it.

I’m beginning to think it’s unavoidable. We are always competing in life. Sometimes it is taught directly, other times it is learned subliminally. We have to compete. That’s just what life is about.

Still, at the same time, we look down upon the parents who are drilling into their children’s heads that they must be number one. There’s the parents that buy their young daughter the eye shadow and lipstick at the age of three and expect her to bring home the blue ribbon at every beauty pageant. Or there’s the dad that expects his son to not only be on the championship T-ball team, but he expects him to get the team MVP trophy as well.

Not only will both of these parents most likely be carrying home the trophy’s themselves (since the prize will probably be taller than the pint-sized recipient), but the parents will also be getting a sense of pleasure for having competed and “won” his/herself. Sometimes if we can’t compete ourselves in a desired competition, that leaves us to competing through others.

Why is this? Because we are brewed to compete! We are taught from a young age to find our “talent”.

"What’s your talent Little Johnny? What are you good at?" Because THAT is what you’ll compete at!

Be it...






Physical Strength

Mental Strength

Some even compete at looks. No, not necessarily through beauty contests or modeling, but just keeping up with the trends and fashions of looks in society. This includes more than clothes, but also appropriate hygiene such as grooming (i.e. hair styles, tans, nails, piercings, etc.)

Maybe this all dates back to the early days where it came down to the survival of the fittest. If you were not competing, you were not going to survive to live. You were in competition for food.

So we compete(d) for food. We compete(d) for trophies. We compete(d) for job positions. We compete(d) for recognition. We compete(d) even for relationships.

I mean look at the bar scene. Competition! It’s everyone for his/herself. It’s the single men competing for the single women. The single women competing for the single men. If you don’t want to go to the bar, you can see it on tv. Ever heard of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette? That’s okay if you haven’t. I don’t watch them either. I prefer American Idol. Yet another competition. Wait a second. Oh that’s right, that’s what makes a reality show—competition!

Well at least we can leave reality and watch Grey’s Anatomy. But even the less “real” is based on the competitions of life. I mean it IS the focus of the romantic relationship competitions on the show that makes it one of the top-rated shows on television. Will it be McDreamy or McSteamy? You personally might think there’s no competition (I mean McDreamy did out-rank McSteamy in People magazine), but Dr. Grey seems to have a problem coming to that conclusion. And as the doctors all continually to compete for being the one, America continues to tune-in. Why? Because we thrive on competition! It’s what makes life exciting. We enjoy the suspense! As if our own lives do not have enough competition, we need to watch others compete!

We anticipate seeing who will come out on top. Who will take home the prize? If it’s not the Super Bowl, it’s the World Series.

Sports are participated in world wide. Look at the Olympics. If it isn’t the athletes competing against one another; it’s the countries competing to see who can get the most medals. Professional athletes compete on the field, and then compete off the field to get the better financial signing deal. College athletes compete on the field with one another, and then off the field for professional drafting slots. High school athletes compete on the field with one another, and then off the field for college scholarships. Then there’s the MVPs of the game. MVPs of the series. MVPs of the season. Rookies of the year. The competitions go on and on in the world of sports.

But competing isn’t wrapped up only for the rich and famous (as if becoming “rich and famous” isn’t one of the biggest competitions among the competitions of life). No, every one of us is competing...

First, there are the obvious competitions we all seem to face in life:

…Academic competition. Competition for ranking in the top ten percent of the class. Being the curve setter on the exam. Being the valedictorian.

…Then there’s the professional competition. Competition for the job position. Competition for the recognition of a job-well-done. Competition for the job promotion. Then if we aren’t competing within the job, we have our job competing with other jobs—competition between companies! Companies compete on profits. Profits are based on monetary success. Now there’s a big competition in life—whether you look at it from a group perspective (i.e. companies) or an individual perspective—who will make the most money?

Then there are the less obvious competitions:

…competing for acceptance. Friendships are based on this. Your friends have passed. They “won” the competition. They competed for your acceptance and got it! How they competed and “won” differs. Possibly they got it through sharing similarities with you. Maybe they competed in life and were able to show you that they had similar professional successes—they got your acceptance based on their professional accomplishments. They competed in life and were able to show you they had similar views/judgments/decisions-made in life and you decided that based on their stance because of those views/judgments/decisions-made, they got your acceptance. Or growing up in school, maybe they competed among you and your peers to obtain the label of “popular kid,” “nerd,” “jock,” “outcast,” etc. and based on the similar results of that competition for you and them, they got your acceptance.

But then there is the competition of sustaining the acceptance once it has been gained in the friendship…

…Should our professional status change, our friendships could change. Should our views change, our friendships could change. Should our label change, our friendships could change. We are competing to keep our friends, and sometimes competing to change our friends.

Friendships are a perfect example of how the competitions in life never seem to end.

Once you succeed in the competition for acceptance, you have to compete to sustain it.

Once you get the championship trophy, you have to compete to defend it.

Once you get the ring of marriage, you have to compete to keep it from divorcing.

Once you get the CEO position, you have to compete to keep the successes coming.

Because if you don’t continue to competed and succeed, you’ll be replaced with a new “victor.”

Don’t get me wrong. Each competition completed results in points for those involved, but either you got an extra point or you didn’t…

If you didn’t, you compete again. Sure you gained the knowledge from the competition (which is worth a point), but that still leaves you one less point behind those who were victorious.

However, if you were ahead in the point count at the end of the competition, you may relish the accomplishment, but realize that soon you’ll have to prepare for the next round.

Because there seems to always be a next round...

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