Competition in society, life ‘brings out the worst in people’

TJ Gerlach, Editor-in-Chief

TJ Gerlach, Editor-in-Chief

T.J. Gerlach

Everyone has heard the saying, “A little competition never hurt anyone.”

While this may be true in many cases, has anyone ever considered the impact competition has on almost every aspect of our lives? Think about it.

From the time we are little children barely knee-high to our parents, most of us already learned to compete for what we want, especially if we have siblings. Remember, who ever cries louder earns the most attention?

Children are forced into sports or other group activities sometimes as early as 3 or 4 years old.

From that age on, competition forms a core piece of our lives. Schools emphasize competition with awards for Student of the Month, Honor Roll and so on. Even attendance is made into a competitive race.

Later in life, we enter the college application and scholarship race.

The never-ending race continues after graduation and into the “real world.”

The job market is one of the most competitive aspects of our lives, not just for finding a job, but also after we have established ourselves in a career.

Internal advancement often causes bitter rivalries within a single corporation or office.

Competition has embedded itself into the fabric of everyday life.

Seldom is any task ever performed without some monetary or physical reward as a goal.

Pride and self-respect have been lost as a driving force to get the job done.

Competition, rather than cooperation is most often the chosen method of community problem solving.

Teams are usually formed to propose alternate methods to solving a problem. This method, while effective and often yielding a productive answer, can be more effort than it is worth.

Competitive problem solving means extra time is spent choosing between proposals, along with the time the teams spend self-organizing.

If one cooperative group is used, less time would need to be spent on organizing it and the different ideas would be weeded out in the beginning, instead of the end.

This means the more people can spend more time and effort putting together the final answer or product.

Not only does competition hinder performance, but as author David Sarnoff said, it brings out the worst in people.

Competition causes people to do things they would never do in any normal situation.

People in general can become truly treacherous creatures when faced with competition.

When some people start losing, their competitive nature completely takes over and changes that person.

Aggression and anger surface more easily ad more often in many people at this point. Others may start to become depressed.

A little competition never hurt anyone, huh?

Most newspapers have seen stories involving parents who abuse their children for competing poorly in some event, athletic or, worse, killing an official or another parent due to a competition. Of course the participants themselves can be hurt as well, be it a love lost to another suitor, a determined athlete who is still beaten, a deserving employee passed over for a promotion or any similar case. While humans do require competition in our lives to fulfill some deep-seeded feeling, we have to be responsible enough not to let it destroy lives or tear society apart.