“Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve ever done before.” -Bonnie Blair
Have you ever been to a soccer, baseball or basketball game where every kid got a trophy? How did you feel about it? Did you think it was fair? Should every kid be a winner or should they be taught from early on that there are winners and losers and that they can be either at any time. I have had mixed feelings about this phenomenon; I used to think “NO”, not every kid is a winner and the sooner they learn this life lesson, the better. But that viewpoint has changed.
What is so great about winning anyway? Prestige? Status? Money? Fame? Does having any these things really make you feel better about yourself? I have neither prestige, status, money nor fame, but I look at those who do and they don’t appear any happier than I am; Stories of the wealthy falling from grace are far and wide. So maybe it is good to have kids live in a sort of utopia where things are as they should be and the people mean more than the game.
The Road to Enlightenment
Right now our society is going through a massive shift in consciousness. People are frantically searching for the happiness they so desire. Personal development blogs, self help books, Oprah and Dr. Phil are all evidence of that. We have come to the brutal realization that our time on earth is not meant to be spent acquiring material possessions. That the real winning in life is how we feel about the journey we are on and not about how many things we end up with.
Losers are Winners
My seven year old nephew gets what a winner is. Every time he comes over for a visit, he plays the same game on his Nintendo DS. During our last visit, I asked him how do you know when you have beaten the game? You see, I grew up in a time where the sole reason to play the game was to beat it. There was even special sequence of buttons you could press on the controller to assist you with your victory. But, back to my story… he said “you don’t win;” So I asked him what was the point of playing the game. He said “for fun.”
My nephew is one of the least competitive people I know. When he plays soccer he is more interested in fiddling with the goalie box than winning the game. People like him appear to not have drive because they are not caught up in wining and loosing like the rest of us. But the truth is they get it. Because their identities are not wrapped up in the winning and losing, it doesn’t matter to them.
Cooperation Builds Community
The idea of winning and losing is very much against how we are meant to coexist. Look at all the other creatures that share the earth with us; they work in cooperation; fish swim in schools, birds fly in flocks, elephants march in herds and wolves hunt in packs.
By working together, they are able to achieve more than any one of them could achieve single handedly. And the same is for us. You see, the wining is actually in the losing. Letting go of having to do it yourself, letting go of competition, letting go of ego.We see this time and time again when a man-made or natural disaster like 9/11, Katrina or recent hurricane Irene strikes and we let go of competition and pull together for humanity. In those times we are willing to die for each other.
In letting go of winning we make space for our true selves to emerge. We are all out here in the world, doing the best we can with what we have. No one person is innately better than another. The person who cleans the bathroom at your local food chain restaurant is no more important than the CEO that uses it. We are all products of our environments and demons. We should respect each other, care about each other, support each other and help each other along the way.
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