Life can seem like it’s all about winners and losers, especially for the top five percent of us who’ve achieved extraordinary financial success (and those of us who envy them). Life, of course, is meant to be more than a measure of material success. It’s about growing into our own skins, learning who we are, where we came from and why we were born into the life we’re living. Life is about being and doing the best we can, but the true measure of a human is not only about his or her ability to compete. Life is about our ability to give love and goodness to others, to cooperate, to work for the success of the whole family, the whole team or school, organization or company, city and country. None of those system work without a commitment to working for the good of everyone, or the whole.
Isn’t there a saying, “He who has the most toys wins”? As far as I can tell, if those with the most financial success don’t do good works with some of their money, like Oprah and the Gates’ families have, they’re truly unhappy people, moving in empty circles of golden glitz and glamour. It looks good from the outside, but it’s dangerous for that within us that is good. It’s an exterior showplace, an interior place of pill-popping misery.
Am I saying that competition isn’t good? Friendly competition is fun, but parents and coaches can teach children more than simply competition. They could stress that playing is about being a member of a team and about the experiences, camaraderie and memories they will share. Especially because in every competition, only one team will come out on top. Their wonderful success should not devalue the efforts of the other teams, because those children also did the best they could.
We are naturally competitive creatures, but the person we’re really competing with is ourselves. What are our gifts and strengths? What do we love to do? What is good and healthy within us and how can we make a difference in others’ lives? Finding the answers to these kinds of questions has the power to change our lives.