What do you think of when you hear the word competition? To me, I always instinctively think of sport. It’s the first thing that comes to mind. By definition it’s “the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others.”
For me, competition is twofold. On the one hand it causes us to better ourselves, but at the same time we’re bettering ourselves to out do others and that’s the element of competition that I have issues with. Why do we not better ourselves for our own sake, rather than proving we are better than others?
Competition & Betterment
I was hoping to find an anime to talk about that would have this sort of illumination to it and the closest one I could think of was March Comes in like a Lion. I’ve wrote about it a lot already, although I suppose a mark of a good anime is one that was multiple themes. Regardless, I feel Rei sort of goes through this internal fight in the first season.
One of the questions he raises during the show is why he is playing shogi at all. Is he playing it because it’s all he knows how to do, or is it playing it because he wants to?
I don’t recall him explicitly questioning whether he wanted to be good at shogi or good at beating others at shogi, but I do think it was there on the sidelines. It’s one of the elements involved in him dismissing his penultimate challenger as he focused on who would be in the final.
Competition is Celebrated
We have Summer and Winter Olympics that are held every 4 years. Countries compete to get the most models and individuals compete to be classified as the best. Every physical sport has its yearly World Championships where, once again, they want to be the best.
It even makes up the majority of our television shows, at least the majority of the reality ones. How many can you name that involves a winner at the end of the series? We’ve singing ones, dancing ones, business ones, and that’s a three second brainstorm.
Some people thrive off competition, but I find it affects more areas of our lives than I personally want. How many times have you witnessed someone explained something just to be seen as smarter than another? In the tech industry I’ve found it’s one of the things I developed in order to “match” my male counterparts and one aspect of myself I’m really battling to destroy. I don’t always have to know the answer just to prove that I am good at my job or that I deserve what I have.
Could Less Competition Help?
Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to this. I don’t think any one person can. Competition is so ingrained into culture that I’m not sure we’ll get past it any time soon. I’m not truly certain that it’s something we need to get past. Competition can be wonderful for pushing the boundaries and giving something external to work for so if we didn’t have competition what would prompt us? Do we even need anything to?
Maybe, at least for now, we need to ensure we are working for it because it’s what we want for ourselves and let that coincide with the competitive element. A little less focus on outdoing others and more on just being the best person that we can be.
I hope you enjoyed this OWLS post. It was very different for me to write but got me thinking even as I wrote it!
If you’ve missed our previous tour stop, go catch up now with Scott’s post! If you want to see our brief for this tour and all the posts that make up February’s head to the OWLS blog. The next post is by Crimson so stop by tomorrow.