Competitive, not cutthroat

What good is gaining the world if you lost your soul?

People say it’s a dog eat dog world. But dogs are mostly friendly. The animals I think that are utterly ruthless are fish. If you ever own an aquarium you would know this. When the lights are off, there would be fish missing the next morning.

Now imagine what happens in a big ocean. Unless the organism is the size of a whale or a predator like a shark, it is always on alert to avoid being killed and eaten.

Whether at sea or on land, nature doesn’t seem to care how ruthless it is. The most skilled animals survive to procreate and the ones that make mistakes are gone. Thus the only ones that exist are the ones that were superior and effective in their surrounding. Multiply that by millions of generations and you have yourself a refined ecosystem.

So where do human beings fit in? Quite nicely. Our intelligence has allowed us to essentially rule the world. There is no animal that can threaten us — except ourselves.

Yes we can be ruthless indeed. But that’s not the standard of a human being. The standard is a person who uses his or her mind to cooperate to accomplish things that one person alone cannot accomplish. That’s why we gathered together — weak and strong — many thousands of years ago to form civilizations. The individuals who decide to go out on their own didn’t survive.

Therefore, when you see a vulgar person espousing the idea that winning is everything, even if it means being cruel to others, that person has lost his way. He might have a title but he isn’t a leader. He might have friends but they are superficial. In essence, he is really a loner. And loners don’t survive.

To be sure, take on the competition. Strive to win by striving to be the best in that endeavor. Bring as many of your family and friends along as you can to share in your success. But should you fail to win, at least you have acted bravely and honorably. Nobody can find fault in that, not even you. When you are alone, you don’t feel lonely because you respect yourself and know your true worth.

From start to finish, you don’t take the bait of winning at all cost. Taking that bait is a common mistake and that is why so many people are unhappy. They soon realize that it was a bad return on their investment.

But if you strive to reach your goals with integrity, there is tremendous pride and happiness in that effort. You soon realize the big difference between being competitive and being cutthroat. It is the difference between life satisfaction and regret.