Sunday 25 June 2017

More Competition, Less Gain

The more we compete, the less we gain

I was thinking this morning...... I was in a meeting last Friday planning for a safety campaign and a colleague of mine said, 'we need to introduce some competition, because competition brings out the best in us.' When competition was mentioned, I remembered Exeter corned beef and Oxford cabin biscuit. No need asking me why, because I will tell you. 

As children in primary school, my dad will say to us that whoever comes first to third in their respective classes would have earned  a can of corned beef and packet of cabin biscuit. For us then, it was pure bliss to bite into two cabin biscuits plastered together with corned beef. But to imagine having a packet of biscuit and a full can of corned beef to yourself as a child was simply amazing. Imagine my joy when I came third one year and was rewarded as promised. Oh, it was simply divine. Trust me, I will not lie like most parents that I came first in school. My third position was good enough to give me my corned beef and cabin biscuit.

Such was the extent that competition drove us. Over the years, we are beginning to see a shift in the way schools grade children. They no longer assign position at the end of the term, and phew, I am so thankful that this system did not commence in my time, otherwise I would've missed out on the opportunity to eat a packet of cabin biscuit and corned beef. Does it mean this new system that downplays competition, does not bring out the best in our children?

As I thought of this, I recalled the statement of Peter Thiel in his book 'Zero to One.' He had said in relation to business, 'We preach competition, internalize it's necessity, and enact its commandment; and as a result, we trap ourselves within it - even though the more we compete, the less we gain.' Isn't that statement spot on in many respects?

Think about it. Siblings compete, colleagues compete, even full-time house wives with no source of income compete. Haba!!! In most organizations, the award of contracts is competitive resulting in lowest bidder phenomenon. In one organization I worked, the competition among catering firms became so stiff that the lowest bidder rate was almost ten times lower than the company estimate. The result was, abysmally poor service. The contract was eventually cancelled. The more we compete, the less we gain.

As I close my thought, I agree that competition, like in sports, is good, we should however not be competing when it comes to life issues because amid all the human drama, people lose sight of what matters and focus on their rivals instead. No wonder the Bible says in 2nd Cor 10:12, 'They that compare themselves with themselves, are not wise.' The more we compete, the less we gain.

Happy Sunday.

.......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.


  1. Another good thought coming from your staple. God bless you Weyemi for always making us looking forward to thoughtful sundays.

    Competitions as rightly spelt out by you is good in all its ramification, but when it become personal it becomes a problem. All the same it does not mean it should be abolished.

    Like every endeavour in human lives, there are always the good and the bad, and maybe let me add the ugly.

    So its good to always focus on the positive. Competitions keep the life going, weather you agree or not. Without competitions, there wont be innovations and life will be static and boring.

    So Weymey keep the thoughts flowing

  2. A very nice one from my boss.....The truth is that according to the law of polarity, everything has both a negative and a positive side to it. There will be no up without a down and there will be no inside without an outside.

    Necessity plus a negative mental attitude equals crime. Same necessity plus a positive mental attitude equals ingenuity. Without competition, people become lax and rather too complacent. However, as you rightly pointed out, the competition must be healthy and focused on improvement rather than rivalry. When we understand that just as Steve bow pointed out, we already have all the talents and abilities deposited in us, we become creators rather than competitors. Trying to improve our own standards based on an awareness that we can become all that we really want to be!
    In synopsis, effective healthy competition is based on RIGHT PERSONAL VALUES AND UNDERSTANDING for individuals and PROPER CORPORATE VALUES/CULTURE for the organization. Ultimately, the individuals make up the organization.



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