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Culture and competition

Which is supposedly the one positive word used frequently in, both business and personal life of most people, that has the potential to spoil a culture? I feel it is competition. Right from the time a child is born, the parents, family, and the schools start telling the child that the world is competitive and she must have a USP not only to just survive but outshine others. At every moment in our life, we are told to see someone else who has succeeded better than us, and hence we must keep on pressurizing ourselves till we cross that person. When we cross the person, there is another one ahead of us, and that is how life goes on, till we are left with no strength.

You may wonder what is the relationship between competition and culture? Please note that the basic attributes of a positive culture are love, respect, care, empathy, and trust. With these tools, getting competitive will be difficult. Bettering yourself is definitely possible, but getting ahead of others is not. Competitiveness requires some ruthlessness, envy of others, and a deep desire to reach the goal by removing all obstacles, whatever those may be.

The conflict between choosing a culture or a competitive streak creates lots of soul searching and ethical people are at a loss in their selection. The conflict comes as the child has been taught from the beginning that happiness and contentedness come only from personal excellence and achievement. NO one questions this assumption, as we don’t care to look into the lives of people who have lived for a higher purpose and felt far more happiness than what the richest person in the world might have felt.

Everyone knows Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but how many know the NASA chief or Armed Forces chiefs who are behind exploring space for the humanity of mankind and the protection of their country. I am very sure that the armed forces, social workers, and scientists may not be famous in public but they have as much job satisfaction as anyone else in the world. Even in business, the names that people know are the ones that led a team, they collaborated with others.

The negative aspects of competition can only be substituted with the acceptance of collaboration as a natural human phenomenon. If we can understand the advantages of collaboration, competition will automatically take a back seat. It is not that collaboration will or can not have competition. See how the football, cricket, and basketball teams play, but if there is competition between their own team members, they always fail. Collectively they compete with other teams.

The shift from competition to collaboration will only be possible if we are fed the idea that others are also important for our growth. We can't do everything ourselves and when we do something collectively, it is easier and more fun. Till we are self-centered we would try to be away from any collaborative effort and even if we do, we try to hog the limelight resulting in a loss of culture. The conclusion is easy. If you care only about yourself, you will be competitive; if you care about others, you would prefer collaboration to competition.

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