Competition thrills, but kills. The concept of competition is largely inspired from the draconian concept of survival of the fittest. It is well annexed with our personalities, our behaviors and our view of the world. Some people think of it as a human trait, others make it a determining factor of the human success. Compete – and you will be rewarded. And by taking this meaning alone, we ignore competition’s better alternative i.e. cooperation.
So lets put up a question here: which mechanism is healthier – competition or cooperation? The response, with no hedging, is cooperation. Though the idea is lost under the materialized world, social scientists continue to endorse it again and again. There are hundreds of studies supporting that.
Weather it is a school, university, or a profit making institution, competition seems to do more harm than good. It has so profoundly rooted in our perceptions that we see it even at the household level, between brothers and sisters, between parents, and as a family unit on the whole. We keep on ignoring the fact that competition drains most of the resources. It acts to cause an overall decrease in the human achievement. In an attempt to stay ‘competitive’ we lose most of our energies by using them negatively (i-e to outdo and beat others). This then translates into a lost potential of mankind. In addition to that , researches prove that due to a persistent environment of competition, the modern day human is more mentally stressed and bears with a poor health. Should we still believe that competition is the royal road to success?
But you would be arguing that the practice competition is as old as human civilization. Yes, we have done wonders. But it is rather due to cooperation than competition. “Competition brings out the “beast” in us, where as the cooperation brings the “best” in us”.
This applies to almost every single aspect of our life, our skills and behaviors More cooperation enable us to utilize the whole potential towards an ultimate goal. People who work on being more cooperative are the ones with more creative ideas, than their colleagues. From the Kindergarten to the Universities Cooperative students performs exceptionally well, and it is not a surprise that cooperation increases creativity. Unfortunately, we all are not taught to have the cooperative skills.
Competition makes all of us insane. It is the competition which makes us negative, skeptic, envious and fearful amongst our own colleagues, friends, relatives, and society at large. In fact, we end up believing that the whole world is against us.
There are people who support that cooperation is the ideal form of managing the human affairs. I think right from the very beginning (since our childhood) we have to teach and train our children to cooperate with their friends. Life is not a race, and we ought not be behaving like horses.
I am sure by introducing a cooperation culture in our schools; we will create a new generation full of enthusiasm, positive, cooperative, Pakistan, one in which there would be no place for sectarianism, hatred, violence and hopelessness. Inshallah!
He is a gold medalist from University of Karachi and a regular contributor for Awaz-e-Pakistan.