Sunday, May 24, 2015

When Bringing Out Your Best Means Bringing Out Your Worst

When Bringing Out Our Best Results in Bringing Out Our Worst

A Conversation About Competition
The Nexus Café ~ Season Two ~ Episode One
Airdate Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Useful up to a certain point…as Mr. Roosevelt noted so many years ago. When used to bring out our best, of course it serves our purpose, and in return, the greater good. But how many of us, have crossed lines, only to serve ourselves? Whether in sports, business, or creative endeavors, seldom does competition build anything more than resentment, self-doubt, and poor sportsmanship. How much winning is enough? How do we measure our success? Most, terribly, resort to the dollars in the bank. What we have to materialistically show for our efforts. In most cases, the harder won the fruit has been, the less likely the majority of us are to share those rewards.  How does competition benefit the whole…beyond the self? 

What integrity is to be found in our work when we are creating for the sheer purpose of production? When the goal becomes audience pleasing, staying relevant, or keeping with the trends.  The internet and social networking has given every voice a platform. Every voice a chance. Alas, not every voice has quality. Not every voice is backed by a hefty wallet capable of controlling its audience.  It’s hard not to try to keep up with the pace that is being set. It’s hard, reaching out to the world, sharing a piece of your self, and seeing no response. Creators are nothing if not human, and its difficult not to fall to our flaws.  The popularity contests are difficult not to get caught up in and even more difficult to not let it have a bearing on the quality of our work.

We can overcome this competitive compulsion by building solid and sincere communities that are based on real relationships. These communities can be a safehouse against the media, consumeristic need to produce. A collective that is based on cooperation…not competition. A family that will stay with you, even when your voice goes silent. A community that at it’s core is concerned with the health and well being of its members, not their following. A fair and equitable system of exchange, not driven by gallop polls and best seller charts.  In our hearts…we know how little the ranking systems of today mean…but in our heads, they still steal space.

When the goal is to find a winner…you can’t pretend its not about excluding the losers. Frustration is never an excuse to be mean…but it happens. Resentment, ego, bitterness…there is no person who is not partial to these all too human conditions.

 VALID competition. There is no doubt that competition can bring out or best. But who is to be the judge of what is valid. How do we please everyone?

 Ultimately, we have to come from a place of cooperation in order to reap the rewards of competition. A place where the winner, represents the community as a whole. A representative who has taken the best aspects of their environment, learned, loved, and prospered, and who is willing to bring that community with them when they win. It is a community who celebrates the win. Who is able to take from the accolade their own part in producing the victory. Who can move forward with pride in knowing that they had a role to play, and with the designated winner, who is also able to acknowledge the importance of the whole. Cooperation BEFORE competition, and cooperation AFTER.

Natasha Head

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