Ever since I was a little kid I remember being told that competition was a good thing, whether this meant being competitive in school, in sports or just being competitive with your friends. I understand competing with yourself, but I’ve never liked having to compete against others. It’s weird because I strongly believe in having drive, motivation and ambition, but again I feel like those are traits that inspire you to compete against yourself. Something about having to tell everyone that you’re the best or constantly having to one-up your friends leaves me with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. These are the areas where I notice people feel the need to be #1 the most:
Okay, sports is kind of a given category for competition to take place. I actually understand this one to a degree, since the name of the game requires you to be a top competitor. Where I personally get annoyed is when you aren’t trying to be the best team in your league or region, but the best player overall. Most sports require being part of a team or partnership, and last time I checked there’s no “I” in “team”. I know that’s a cheesy saying, but it’s true. It takes a village for real progress to happen. Even the most self-sufficient people need to rely on someone else at some point. If you want to improve your craft to be the best that you can be then I’m all for it, but if you are only training to be the best athlete of all time I kind of have to question your motives.
There are 3 kinds of people: those that ace everything, those that fail everything and those that are somewhere in the middle. I always made pretty decent grades, but there were certain subjects I was either terrible in or had no interest in. Nothing is worse than the student that says, “Wow I got a 98% on the midterm and I didn’t even study.” Don’t be that person, because everyone hates that person. Especially the kid who studied their heart out and got a 79% (okay I might have been referring to myself from a time or two in high school on that one). For some reason people love to brag about their amazing grades and then make it sound like they never even lifted up the textbook, but why? I bet in reality they memorize hundreds flash cards while claiming to be Netflix binging. There’s something about us humans that want to have the best things in life without looking like we put the effort in to get it. It’s a weird trait we have that I will never understand. Long story short: you can be proud of your work without making others feel bad.
Unfortunately, this is one of those things that I don’t think will ever change. Ever since the age of 5, we are brainwashed into feeling the need to have the newest and nicest product on the market. I’ve always been slightly behind on the trend bandwagon when it comes to the latest tech. I very recently upgraded from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone SE, and I was stoked on life! Sadly, there’s always that one jerk that has to say, “Yeah but it’s not a 6.” Who cares? I can download the most recent versions of popular apps, take flash photos, play Pokemon Go, and finally use Siri (who seriously creeps me out by the way). Why pay double the price for a phone that is large enough to be a tablet? Just so I can be on the same level as my friends and take even more selfies in the middle of conversations? I’m fine without having to do all of that.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves ever. There’s always that one person that has to brag about their enlightening experience climbing some large mountain and “becoming one” with the tribal locals, all because they found a place on Airbnb and bought a GoPro camera from Best Buy. If I had the money, I could literally have the same exact experience. On the other hand I could stay at home, watch a documentary on Netflix, contribute to a well-ran charity and probably have more of an impact on the world. Taking pictures of beautiful landscapes and impoverished children solely for the purpose of getting comments & likes on Facebook is kind of immoral in my book. Especially if the next couple pictures are of you relaxing at a luxury spa or resort. The whole “life-changing experience” thing starts to seem kind of insincere at that point.
Parents should always be proud of their kids, but there’s a point where you need to ask yourself – “Is it worth alienating everyone around me because Johnny was the spelling champ this month?” Every parent believes that their kid or kids are the best and that’s great, but you have to realize that not everyone is going to agree with you, or even care. This is a typical conversation you will here:
Mom #1: Annie led her debate team to the regional finals and they won! I’m so proud of her!
Mom #2: Oh how nice. Susie’s team got second place at her volleyball championship game! You know that’s a pretty big deal.
Mom #1: Aw, second place? That’s cute. Maybe they’ll be better next year.
Trust me, this is one of those conversations that will never end. Each mom will feel the need to top the other one by using their kids as pawns in their childish brag-offs. Then one day Annie will do something stupid, like get drunk at her high school prom, and Susie’s mom will never let it go. Annie and Susie never asked for this, but somehow the consequences will trickle down to them.
I’m not here to say competition is the worst thing ever, but try to be aware of how you are making those around you feel. I personally get really into board games, but I have to take a second and realize that it’s okay that my friend didn’t guess that it was Colonel Mustard in the dining room with the candle stick. I might be good at Clue, but they’re probably better at swimming. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, so we need to focus on improving what we’re good at and admiring those who excel at what we’re bad at.
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
When have you seen someone get overly competitive?