“There is no life-and-death international competition threatening our national existence, difficult as that idea is even to think about, let alone believe, in the face of a continual media barrage of myth to the contrary.” ~ John Gatto
Lately, I’ve been looking around and seeing competition everywhere.
It’s rampant out and about in the world.
There are the rich—competing to get more money, keeping it and spending it as they wish, on what they wish.
There are the poor—competing to sell vegetables at the market, give you a ride in their moto-taxi or shine your shoes.
And there are all of us in-between “rich” and “poor,” who are competing to make ends meet and “get ahead.”
I’ve never considered myself a competitive person—I’m not into outward or athletic competition. My personal philosophy is more like:
Why run when you can walk?
Who cares which team wins?
To paraphrase Gilda Radner: Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.
Yet, there is a fierce, everyday competition that occurs within the confines of my own mind. Lately I’ve noticed how super ridiculously competitive I can be, inwardly. I’ve been endlessly judging and ranking, placing myself above or below another person, in terms of beauty, wealth, intelligence, achievements, level of consciousness or whatever.
It happens with the people that I cross paths with in day-to-day life—tourists, local Maya people, other expats, boat drivers, shopkeepers and so forth.
It happens when I scroll down my Facebook feed—gawking at too many friends’ and acquaintances’ photos and minute life details, all the while thinking, “Why am I doing this? I need to stop.”
The aimless scrolling and the mindless competitiveness—they both need to stop.
What if I dropped this unnecessary and unhelpful sense of competition?
What if I quit running, in favor of slow and steady hiking?
What if I let go of seeking and aiming ambition, and I held on to not-competing—to just being without needing to rank and file?
What if there’s actually no need to compete at all? There’s enough abundance and goodness to go around, without having to step on each other to get to it first.
There’s a vast difference between pursuing personal goals and engaging in vicious competition with others in pursuit of one’s personal goals.
I wonder—is competition natural or is it conditioned into us?
What if, instead of ranking and comparing, I just look into the other person’s eyes—strangers, acquaintances, friends, family—and see that they are divinely human, just as I am divinely human?
It’s always a good reminder, isn’t it?
Although we differ, we are the same.
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina