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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Winner Loser False Dichotomy

We get it, you want to win.

We certainly look down on losers don't we? We are fed this information in life that we must be competitive and strive to be the winner in things we want to go after. Competition makes yourself motivated to be "more" than the people competing with you, whether you  are trying to compete for a prize, a job or even a status. Adopting a "better than you" mindset can be quite dangerous since, it is all based on the ego and the illusory sense of self. Each person has their own unique way of doing things that has been sculpted by personal experience. Just because someone can execute a task more efficiently or elegantly, doesn't mean that they are inherently more valuable than other people.

Eyes on the prize, they say.

Certainly, there is nothing morally or ethically competition. Competition allows you compare your weaknesses and strengths to the other competitors. This can have a profound affect on personal growth. This personal growth can allow you to flourish in future scenarios. We can see the habits of competitors as reflections of our own insecurities as well.

The competitive mindset requires balance, honesty and empathy. In this rat racing modern society, we are told to be tough and to step up our game without being vulnerable or showing weakness. This throws the competitive mindset out of balance and into a never ending war of ego driven resistance. We want to present ourselves as strong and competent people that can overcome adversity and be unaffected by external challenges. This is the ego trying to take the wheel. The super competitive self strives to grow itself with the constant comparing and contrasting of the past self and the other people striving for the same types of goals. This identity can be quite blinding. It blinds you from your ability to tune in with your most authentic self.

Daniela Tempesta from the Huffington Post writes, " Ruminating about how someone else is better looking, has more friends, or is more successful than you is both time-consuming and ineffective. Being hard on ourselves actually zaps motivation and decreases goal completion. If you really want to live a life that feels fulfilling you need to dedicate your time and energy to your own values.  ...What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of relationships do you want to have? What do you want people to remember about you? Use these personal values as the barometer upon which you compare, rather than the accomplishments of those around you." 

As we can see, comparing and contrasting yourself to others distracts from personal growth. This however isn't the most destructive behavior if you can see it as data. A person may have something you want, but it belongs to their own journey. The only constructive thing that can come out of comparing yourself to others, is that it can allow you to return to your own path and center and simply show appreciation for others achievements.

When we focus so much on winning, we fail to see the duality in the process. When you win something, there are going to be people that don't win. We like to call these people losers to strengthen the pride of the ego. Most of the time this is unconscious. Some people believe that they deserved what they "won" and that all the other people simply didn't try as hard as them. This stems from a place of judgment and condemnation. Instead of subscribing to a winner/loser duality, we can switch to a more vulnerable state of being that focuses on appreciation and cooperation.

The true nature of competition stems in the ability to recognize and cooperate with others, while strengthening your own unique abilities and values in the process. 

A person who wins has won because of the efforts of the other competitors. You could even say that it is more cooperative than being solely self driven ( an illusion of separation ). Someone can use the behavior and tactics of others to advance their own game plan by simply seeing what they are NOT doing. Instead of aggressively pinning yourself against an opponent, you can see your competitor as a teacher. You can switch from seeing them as walls and more as doors to unseen opportunity.

Winner/ Loser
Winner/ Beginner

If someone loses, they have failed only if they haven't learned something in the process. The "losing" aspect can be a great teacher to see what was done wrong and what could have been done better. In a way, it is a strengthening exercise that allows for a more understanding sense of self and motivational tactics. It is a matter of switching from a "I've lost" mindset to a "new beginning" mindset focused on growth. 

See the duality for what it is and let it be.
Focus on your own inner growth and show gratitude towards others.
See what happens.



Tempesta, Daniela. 2014.

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