Competition is the act of two or more people, or groups of people facing off against each other in order to attain a greater goal. It is used for many things from building team spirit, to enticing the best out of your employees. Through competition, people grow and improve themselves. Healthy competition makes people work harder and helps build self confidence. If on the “winning” side of a competition, people glow in the realization that their hard work has gotten them this far.
On the other hand, those that finish later may learn new strategies for dealing with ideas and through healthy self criticism, learn ways to better themselves and their situation to the point of excelling. It is for these reasons that competition is important. Without a reason to compete, a society remains stagnate and devoid of progression. Matters, used a pumpkin carving contest at her son’s school as an example of why competition is important. At the end of the contest, the judges gave every child a ribbon instead of announcing one winner.
Silvert states that, “it is as if we grown-ups believe that kids are too fragile to handle defeat” (Silvert p. 12). While it is true that children may be upset at the idea of not coming in first, it is important to note that through each competition that they endure they are learning something new about themselves and the environment around them. “While games and contests illustrate the importance of drive and determination, they also teach our children how to lose,” (Silvert p. 12).
Everyone enjoys positive feedback and affirmation as often as possible, but as life is fluid so are our experiences within it, and with that sometimes comes failure. As losing is as much a part of life as winning, it is important to teach the skills of sportsmanship and failing with grace early on. In Chiacos article, A Look at the Commercialization of Sport, it is said that, “Games helped children develop the skills that they would need in adult life while grown-ups probably competed for status, entertainment, and social bonding,” (Chiacos).
This shows that while young, competition plays a vital role in the socialization of youth while preparing them for the challenges of being an adult. Signs of competition are everywhere in the natural world, as well as the artificial world that we as humans have created for ourselves. Initially competition was natures way of weeding out those unfit for continuation, but as we as a species evolved, competitions purpose became less dire and more symbolic. “Humans have most likely competed in athletics since the inception of our species,” (Chiacos).
We have found pleasure in the conception of games that pit our abilities against other people. Through them, we learn about ourselves and each other. The techniques that we attain from others enable us to forge ahead in ways not possible without the insight of another. Because of this fact, competition has become an integral part of almost every part of human life. An example of the immersion and pay off of competition in society is college. Competition in school dictates a certain degree of success for the attending students and this in turn makes for better recruits for the job market.
Students with higher grades often times have an easier time attaining their goals. There are companies that maintain a minimum GPA of 3. 0 requirement for graduating students to be considered for an interview. This ensures that those being considered have worked hard to be at the level of success that they are at. This is good for the company as well as for the prospective employee because both have/ and will benefit from the hard work of the student. A more personal example of this occurred while I was searching for a post graduate job in my major of Accountancy.
Initially, I had a 3. 0 and through networking through classmates and peers of school organizations that I was a part of, I was able to score an interview with a prospective employer. To interview with this firm, the required GPA was a 3. 0 and because of my ties with others, I felt confident in my ability to acquire a job from them. However, having been my first interview ever, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped and so I was unable to get the job. The following year, I re-applied but because my GPA dropped I was not even considered for an interview.
My lack of competition and feelings of security through networking caused my grades to drop, barring me from my main goal. A lack of a grading structure or some other type of competition in school can cause a lackluster attitude towards studying. They are less likely to try their best because they feel that there is nothing to lose. An example of this is a credit/ no-credit class in which those enrolled, due to a lack of a grade and thus a less tangible consequence, do not try as hard. This is not to say that every tudent enrolled feels this way, but with a passing grade of a C being enough to get full credit, it is easy to see how this assumption can be made. The main goal of the grade trumps the idea of the knowledge gained. I have now come to realize that my greatest competitor is myself and I now strive harder than ever to work hard in the short term in order to reap better benefits in the future. In conclusion, healthy competition is necessary in almost all human activities ranging from school and work to leisure time activities. It enables the growth of the people involved through interpersonal interactions as well as self assessments.
Adequate pressure to succeed is the key in order to navigate through the society we have made for ourselves. We must be wary of hyper-competition and those who push to hard and too fast. Competition should always be looked at for what it is and not for what it is not. We must remember that while the overall desired effect is to win. people should not forget what lessons of win and lose that they have learned while enduring their struggle. Assimilating these lessons into their daily lives will enable them to forge ahead and better themselves and possibly the world in the future.