Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Beyond Winning


In any organization, be it a company or a school, various types of competitions showcasing intellectual, physical or artistic skill are initiated for the benefit of its members.

These events are encouraged because they animate the institution promoting them, and they add to its organizational culture. They become part of the tradition that makes a particular organization unique. Competitions are healthy because they motivate us to do our very best, whatever the prize may be. Even in the absence of material reward, mere recognition of our skills and talents is enough to build up our self esteem. 

Yet joining competitions for the sole purpose of winning can become an unhealthy goal. The desire for success may transform into an obsession that can lead us down an unethical path. And failure to win may inevitably cause  frustration and severe despondence. Winning should not define the struggle. Rather, it is the struggle that tells us whether or not we truly deserve to win.

In any contest, there will be those who win and those who do not. What matters most is how each competitor deals with victory and defeat. Whatever the outcome, competitions should build character. They should instill fairness and honesty in the contestants. At the end of each competition, what will be remembered is not who won, but how the game was played and the manner by which different teams dealt with one another before, during and after the contest. 

Each competition mirrors the contest of life itself. It is the struggle that matters, the happiness achieved and what we did in order to succeed.

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