Most parents try to teach their kids sharing. It is an important life skill. Unless of course you are on the football pitch and you ‘share’ with someone from the other team. Competitive team sports teach us wining is the only important thing. You don’t get a prize for 4th place. We don’t talk about who came second in 1985 in the 100m, the World Cup, the Stanley Cup, and so on. We even wear shirts saying ‘Second place is the first loser’.
So is it any surprise collaboration is hard? Is it any wonder we view others with suspicion? And that we are surprised or find it noteworthy when a business employee refers us to another shop as they can meet our needs better?
Competition helps us have choice. It also can spur us on to improve what we do. But when winning is the only thing, life becomes toxic. As we get older, we tend to measure competition financially – who has a bigger house, more toys, and we grade companies on Wall Street looking at financial records.
It is easy that way.
Comparing ourselves on sharing, on generousity, on care – well that is harder to measure and so doesn’t get measured. And yet, everyone wants to live beside and in a community of generous, sharing, kind, and caring people. And we know who some of those people are. So we do know how to measure it even if it is hard.
And yet we seek to compete, to ‘win’ much more than we seek to share and collaborate.
Everyday the choice is up to us.