Competition is vital to our current social structure. Businesses compete for the best employees, schools compete for the best teachers, sports teams for the best records, grocery stores for the best produce, students for the best grades, etc. This idea of limited resources is everywhere in society which leads us to constantly be evaluating and judging people and situations. Charles Darwin introduced us to the idea of “survival of the fittest” and we’ve definitely run with it. But now I’m finding competition to be destructive to my quality of life and I’m wondering if we can do without it.
In my ideal world I’m accepted and appreciated for who I am today, and I spend my time and energy contributing to my community in a productive way. Instead of tearing the people around me down so I can outcompete them, I’m building them up so our community can be stronger. We take care of each other when we’re down instead of climbing on top of the weak.
It seems that competition drives deadlines and hard work but the perpetual motion prevents us from stepping back and seeing the destination. If we look at the people at the top of the pile, they’re successful but our their lives empty? Can they be happy knowing that maintaining their spot at the top mandates pushing the people at the bottom down?
This is definitely an oversimplification with unfair stereotypes, but the general trends seems appropriate. My question is, where would things settle out if we did away with competition? Would society be dragged down by free loaders and unmotivated people or would we connect with a deeper desire to love, contribute, and grow. Is dhamma leading me to resist competing? Only time will tell. Time to meditate.