Competition vs. Cooperation

A deeper look into competition vs. cooperation. How can we use both as tools for affecting positive change in this world? How can it help us to succeed?


Why do we, as humans have such a strong competitive drive? Does it go back to our primal days where we had to compete and fight for our survival? If that’s the case, why do we still feel and act this way? Aren’t a lot of us sitting pretty when it comes to survival? We have food to eat, a roof over our heads, and most of us have safety. What is all the fighting really about? Why can’t we just cooperate with each other to make this world a better place? Why can’t we just help each other? 

If we need to compete with anyone, we need to compete with ourselves. We need to challenge ourselves to be a better version of ourselves. We need to challenge ourselves to do better every single day. 

This quote by Mahatma Gandhi comes to mind: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” We can’t help anyone at all until we first learn to help ourselves. We can’t help ourselves until we heal ourselves. We need to compete with yesterday to make today better, to make tomorrow better. We need, to be honest about who and what we are. We need to hold ourselves accountable. We need to own up to our mistakes. We need to not hide behind excuses. We need to make right what we can and do right whenever we can.  

We need to bridge who we think we are with who we actually are. If we don’t like who we are, we need to challenge ourselves to be better, to do better. We need to step up to that challenge. We, ourselves need to be the change before we can ever wag our fingers at others to do the same. We can lead by example. We can raise our children to see and follow a better example. There is hope for us, and through us, there is hope for everyone. The change begins with us, as individuals.

If we feel compelled to compete with others we can do so by competing over how much good we can do. No, we don’t need to brag. We can do it in secret. The secret can be part of the challenge, if we prefer. If we see a good deed, we can use it to inspire ourselves to do our own good deed. Perhaps, we can do something greater. Maybe, other people’s good deeds can give us ideas as to what we can do, or how. Maybe we want to be a trend-setter and come up with our own ideas on how to impact positive change. 

Personally, I disagree with it being better to keep all of our good deeds a secret. Sure, some good deeds are more tactfully kept secret to protect the parties involved, but why is it necessary to keep everything a secret? Shouldn’t we show others that we’re making an effort? Isn’t it great for people to see some good in this world? Shouldn’t we be spreading hope? Why is this a topic of shame? Why are people ashamed for telling others about the good they do? Does it somehow point out that others could be doing more? Is that really so offensive? We should inspire others. We should recognize the efforts of others.  We should celebrate our efforts!

We need to cooperate with ourselves before we can cooperate with others. We need to follow our hearts. We need to stay true to who we are. We need to stop fighting with ourselves. We should not second guess, shame or belittle ourselves. We need to learn how to be our own best friend. We cannot be a good friend to anyone else until we befriend ourselves. How can we work with anyone if we can’t fully work with ourselves? Conflict within ourselves creates a lot of inner turmoil, resentment, and even anger. Undealt with, it will manifest itself in a negative manner. If we trust in our own abilities, it will also be easier to trust in the abilities of others. A great tool to aid us in cooperating with ourselves is to communicate with ourselves. One of the most powerful ways I have found to do this is through journaling. 

It's important to embrace all parts of ourselves. To put all of ourselves to work, for us and others. We need to hold the space for ourselves. We need to move forward from our past. We need to hold the space for others. Just like we wouldn’t want someone throwing our past into our face, nor should we do this to others. We don’t need to be naïve or gullible, but we should allow people an opportunity to change.  If we want people to believe in our potential, we should also believe in the potential of others. 

We need to maintain our integrity. We can do so by guarding our tongue as to what we say about others. We need to be encouraging, supportive and inspiring. We should give out everything good, every change which we hope to see in ourselves and others. People are not going to be receptive, or supportive if we talk smack about others or speak negatively. If we speak down about anyone, including ourselves we lose our power.  

If we share our vision with others, perhaps they too will share our vision. We can connect to people on the positive side of things. Perhaps, the people we interact with, converse with also want to affect positive change. Perhaps, this was just the very encouragement and push they needed to go into action. Remember, no one is a mind reader. No one will know unless we tell them. If we tell them nothing, chances are someone, somewhere along the line will just fill in the blanks. Unfortunately, it seems to be a tendency of the majority of people to think the worst rather than the best of others. It’s important to spread anything and everything good!  This will give people insight into who we are and allow people to join forces, collaborate, and work with us, rather than against us.

It is important for us not to hoard our gifts. We need to share whatever we can with the world. Yes, it may seem like we’re giving it all away, but we have to have faith, that this will pave a path for us to receive as well. As the saying goes: “No man is an island.”- John Donne. We need others in order to succeed. We need genuine connections, a real network, we need cooperation. It is extremely hard, if not, next to impossible to do everything required by yourself, for yourself. It is much easier to do it as part of a team. You can give your special talents and others can give theirs, altogether you can build each other up. We complement each other. We can build something great together. 

Further cooperation with self, includes building a clear mission with clear goals. Not doing so, chances us continuing unfocused in multiple directions. It is equally important in a team environment. What are the next steps? Steps ensure continued focus and forward momentum. It may be tedious and even arduous to come up with a comprehensive plan but it will be well worth it in the end. I am a firm believer that 90% of the work goes into the planning. The success lies in the planning! After that, there are  just steps to climb, and it’s just a matter of taking those steps.  Teamwork allows people to help each other stay on task. People can pick up after each other. They can correct each other's mistakes. They can bridge any short-comings. Teamwork just makes everyone more successful.