Contributing better than competing


As individuals, we are all trying to outdo each other in every sphere of our existence. At first, it appears to be a positive thing because this creates an illusion that each participant in this competition is trying to get better at what he does. Do a little digging and you will find that each individual is merely trying to improve in relation to other and thus limiting his own potential.
Most of us have tried to defend our low scores in front of our parents with quick justification that everyone in the class scored low. We accord undue importance to school scores, and often compare it with others. In this process, we inculcate a tendency of limiting our potential by equating it with others and direct all our energies to be ‘just better’ than our competition. We can be so much more.
We often tend to confuse contribution with giving. Giving involves providing something abstract or concrete to someone or something. What we contribute, on the other hand, becomes part of a larger whole. Our contributions add to our being and to the being of that which we are a part.
Each individual is different and so are their talents, interests, approaches and intellect. The only thing common is the limitless potential. If we were all to think in terms of our contribution and not outdoing our competition, we may surprise ourselves with the results.
We live in times of cultural competition. Each culture is trying to imitate other instead of blossoming individually. This is fast leading to a homogenisation of cultures. It is not an argument against cultural exchange. This is a case against aping of systems, cultures and lives devoid of the richness gained as a result of this individual growth.
Competition is more like a game because it always involves winning and losing. This game tires its participants out. Even if one keeps winning consistently, the realisation that nothing meaningful was really created by being a part of this game leaves a void.
To say that we are our own competition is also a way of tiring ourselves out because what brings peace is actually counting what we have achieved. What we have contributed to field, we work in or society we live in is a question we must ask ourselves from time to time.
Musical instruments are pleasing to ear even when heard individually. Played in synchronisation, they create a symphony. Each player in this symphony plays in accordance with requirement of the group. The goal is creating soulful music and not proving primacy of one instrument over the other or one player over the other.
In our work spheres, too, we would bring out better results if we focus on our contribution to organisation we are working for. That way our goal gets larger and more egalitarian. It moves from individual growth to the growth of the larger institution.
How can competition then work to our advantage?
Competition limits us, contribution sets us free to realise what we are capable of truly. It is time, we set ourselves free.
The author is BJP national general secretary and Rajya Sabha member.
Bhupender Yadav


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