Competition as Heart Disease

Listen to this post on the KevKast!

Truth is always disappointing. Since we don’t possess all that is true, when we first encounter truth it is never what we expected. For some this post will be resisted because they cannot imagine transforming this aspect of their life.

We live in a competitive culture. We are taught early about this binary system. We are taught that winning is the penultimate achievement. The world thus comprises winners and losers. The win / lose paradigm is in sports, business, education, cooking, politics, dating and religion. Its all about being better, more, faster, richer, stronger, prettier, smarter or more powerful than others. Competition requires a scarcity worldview in order to exist. It needs a zero-sum game where ONLY one can win. This fuels competition as the means of survival. For many, competition gives them an identity. It is their maker.

I’m fully aware that aspects of competition are actually very good. We know that competition drives teams, businesses and individuals to become stronger, to work harder, to innovate, and to go the extra mile in service. Comparing performance is important and fun. The problem is not whether we compete or if our performance is being evaluated. The problem resides within the disposition (heart) of the individual. Thus competition when it is bad is revealing a spiritual deficiency. It’s a disease of the heart.

Our culture has mistakenly linked survival to being better than others. We need to question this. Only ego and pride survives in this way. If we follow that train of thought then the elimination of others is how we thrive. (Seems like a German in the 1940’s had the same idea.) We like to think of ourselves as better than this, but honest introspection usually proves otherwise.

We actually need others to rise up. If rising comes at others falling, it isn’t really a rising, it’s a distraction from ultimate reality.  Is the winning team, car, politician, or side really that much better? Is our biggest opponent really that different from us?

The solution is not the abandonment of competition. We are not better off giving everyone a participation trophy. Everything changes the moment we replace the binary system of otherness, with respect (love) for all others. We need not diminish others with less skill, or puff up as if our skill was not given to us. We don’t lose skill by giving it away, instead it potentiates abundantly.

Our binary, competitive world says that I am not you and you are not me. The new world emerges when our hearts say; “Though I am not you, I am also not other than you.” When either/or is replaced with and, then heart disease is cured and competition is redeemed.