Competition

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I was playing pool with my friend today. Both of us were out of practice (you know, sinking the inadvertently complicated ones, missing the really easy ones) but the length of the game allowed for both bantering… or was that bartering? I did say I will cook lunch if two balls are in… and serious discussions. Part of the serious discussion was the idea of competition.

I am competitive, especially with myself. I have discouraged competition with others in myself ever since I was old enough to figure out that it makes me uncomfortable to lose… and win. That didn’t sound in line with the old theory of evolution so I had to dig a bit deeper.

I don’t like losing, who does? But not liking to win required some thought and, once I grew up a bit, some scenarios. It should have been clear before, but we are mostly blind to ourselves day-to-day, and only figure things out if we take the time to know ourselves. Who has the time? And even if you do have time, how many will actually think about themselves and make scenarios about winning and losing. But I digress…

The results were unsurprising in hindsight 🙂

I don’t like winning if others lose. Can I get any quainter than that? I love winning, providing you win as well. It is linked with fear in a way. If I compete in a win-lose game, then I have to either pay attention to the game or to the person I am competing against. The disconnect from the person is scary, looking at them, analyzing all the ways in which I can win, all the ways in which I can manipulate things in my favour.

It is also linked with my general attitude towards life (see my previous blog, Attitude). Incidentally, the new theory of evolution seems to say to my untrained mind that although the genes may be selfish in their fight to be multiplied, they select for co-operation… that’s almost funny when you think about it.

So rather than my childhood “yes, but” mantra which used to drive my mother to distraction, most of the time I can make a choice and use “and”. Rather than a hole left by the losing which can only be filled by the winning, I find it comfortable to have two wins side by side, each not taking anything from the other, even growing on each other. I used to say “I don’t wear perfume but I like strongly scented flowers” Nowadays it’s “I don’t wear perfume, I love strongly scented flowers, I have my favourites for each season and I prefer them in the garden, not in a vase”. Fussy, much? 🙂

As a result, thinking positive could probably be my middle name. Negative thinking, after all, stems mostly from an impaired ability to look at things from someone else’s point of view, an almost hunching over ourselves and an unhealthy (literally!) shouldering of responsibility and singularity.

So, my friend, I would rather praise you when you sank that difficult one, gasp when you miss the easy one, and generally laugh at our clumsiness, rather than go all out , ignore you and your gentleness and your stubborness and win. Where would be the joy in that?

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