Competition And A Happy Life

Competition And A Happy Life

We live in a very, very competitive world. One looks around and there is no place or situation where there is no competition. Right from birth through to death, we passed through a process called, no, not life but competition. From the healthiest and cutest baby to who’s kid is the cleverest in nursery to ranks and toppers in school to colleges and post graduates and finally in professional life until someday somebody stresses out and ends it all. So high is the competition combined with expectations from it that the number of suicides among students, as per India Times report, is worsening by the day. As per the report, in the three years from 2014-2016, as many as 26,476 students have killed themselves in the country, quoting a latest data sent to the ministry of home affairs by all Indian states and union territories. The data highlighted that the number for 2016 stood at 9,474—that’s one suicide every 55 minutes. And all because of competition and depressions. And according to sociologist Samata Deshmane, “Society is transforming, and people are finding it difficult to cope with it, whether it is apparent or otherwise. One of the oldest definitions of our species says that we are social animals, but today we are less social and more individualistic. Apart from things like caste and religion, which also unite people at a superficial level, people are forced to be competitive and worry only about oneself, often depriving several others of a cushion.”

Yes, life is a competition but it should not be a race against anyone else but against oneself. But the sad truth of the world is that we are all pitched against each other, to compete and see who is better than the other. To see who becomes a doctor, a civil service officer, a lecturer and who stays as a farmer, a labourer or a carpenter, when the truth is these professions are all important in their angles and are dependent on each other too. No civil service officer or professor will be able to do without the work contribution of a farmer or a carpenter and vice versa. However, in the society that we live in, we are made to think that one service is higher and better than the other, and thus make to be competitive while we stressed ourselves out. And the outcome? We are made to feel less important and that our work or efforts are of no importance. That one is lesser or lower than the other and is of no value to the society or the community – all thanks to competition. And of course, in the long run many have given up, even on their lives and thus ending it.

It is, perhaps, time we change the way we think about competition and winners. While we compete so much, thinking what the society will think of us if we do not succeed, we have forgotten to live. We just race ahead under pressure and that is where we burst. Therefore, it is important that we take time and think what competition really means. Does it mean beating everyone and staying ahead of the opponent? Or does it mean being a better yourself than the person you were yesterday? The famous rapper and music producer Jay Z wrote in one of his songs, “I look in the mirror, my only opponent.” Perhaps, that is what the real meaning of competition should be – against ourselves, to be a better person, a better worker, a better professional, a better husband, wife, son, daughter, etc. Because, in the end competition and being a winner is about going out there and giving your 100 percent regardless of what the society or the people will say. Yes, there is nothing wrong in keeping scores too but keep to judge yourself and see how you have improved from yesterday. Competition has been known to destroyed the world. The ‘Unsinkable’ Titanic sank because, rumours have it that the captain wanted the ship to beat the speed limit ever set in the oceans. The result? We all know how over a thousand died because of that seer thought of competition and beating everyone else. As Simone Biles, the 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medallist would put it, “A successful competition for me is always going out there and putting 100 percent into whatever I’m doing. It’s not always winning. People, I think, mistake that it’s just winning. Sometimes it could be, but for me, it’s hitting the best sets I can, gaining confidence, and having a good time and having fun.” Perhaps, that is the simple way we can all compete with ourselves, and live a happier life.

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