The spirit of competitiveness flows like a stream in all fields of life. Competition is a challenge and should be viewed positively. I remember my father telling tales of his struggle and competition his generation had to face to secure jobs in the Government Sector. People used to prepare for competitive examinations like SSC, UPSC, LDC, Banking, etc. Perhaps, competition in those days was to crack an exam, secure a job and settle well in life. But is it like this today? No! Not at all! Like all other aspects around us, our definition and perception of ‘competition’ has evolved over time. It is just as limitless as the sky.
Gone are the days when people used to dream their careers as Doctors, Engineers, Professors, Chartered Accountants, Teachers, etc. Then, no one could ever imagine a career as a Baker, Jewellery Designer, Event Manager, Musician, Dancer, Choreographer, Content Writer, Videographer, Artist, and many other areas of interests that were pursued as hobbies, but now are followed as full-fledged career streams. Hence, the aspect of competition is all pervading nowadays, with a wider landscape to paint achievements.
With wider choices available, situation has become even more complicated, complex and competition even harder. Sometimes, parents and children face rough and tough time together, courtesy, the cut-throat competition everywhere. Some parents push their children to be the best at everything, be ready to face the competition and surpass all others. The struggle for children begins right during the formative years, since they are expected to be the best academically, in sports and in other curricular and extra-curricular activities.
“Tiny little brains
Learning to perceive
Trying to know the world around
Pushed into the world of competition
I wonder what to do
Let them do and learn or
Send them to the battlefield
Make them struggle and try their might!”
Aren’t we expecting too much from the children in the guise of enabling them face the bottle-neck competitions? Can we not train them to face challenges and competitions without pressurizing them? I believe we need to first make our children prepare for life, get ready to face challenges, teach them survival skills and make their own place in the world, rather than expecting them to take everything as a competition with others. In some cases, competition with others develops the feelings of jealousy, hatred or dislike among children. This might make them feel under pressure, demotivated, exhausted, spiritless, worn-out or shattered at times. Handling competition, thus, becomes very crucial; else it may lead to cynicism.
Here, I do not mean we should not let our children participate in competitions or be protective or not make them a part of the competition culture. I simply mean, we must train them, instil confidence in them, and work and guide them on acquiring and honing skills. In other words, we must develop a culture of healthy competition in the children. Healthy competition fosters more productivity, promotes interaction and collaboration, enables people to work harder, and develops team culture and sportsman spirit, while remaining a part of the competition.
Various Competitions held in schools also motivate and encourage students to cross all barriers, do better and often innovate and become more creative. Competitions also help us deal with failures and further planning to achieve our goals. These instil in us the spirit of a positive fighter. Hence, healthy competitive spirit must be inculcated as any other skill. Children should take competition as another skill to master, rather than taking it as a pressure to run a race and win it too.
Competitions and survival skills have become synonymous these days. In fact, both are a part of the modern day lifestyle. As I mentioned earlier, competition is limitless and has its wings expanded till the zenith and it starts right from the formative years, I would like to add that no walk of life is free from competition. Take a look at the various examples we have, ranging from the local vegetable vendors, to laundry men, milk vendors, grocery stores, fashion stores, home décor, stylists, salons, and number of other services, like telecom, entertainment, news update, gadgets, devices and gizmos, etc.; everyone is a part of the competition for survival. Hence healthy competitive spirit ranges from school’s stage to life’s stage!
The question arises again. How do we prepare our children to be part of this so called race, the competition? How do we ensure our children win this race, without feeling threatened? How do we make sure the competition would lead to a bright future for them? How do we ensure our children will lead a secure life and enjoy all the facilities and luxuries?
‘Competition must be identified or defined simply as preparation for life’. When does this preparation begin? Preparation for life begins just as we take birth. First parents, then teachers at school prepare us and make us what we are. This does not imply we ourselves have no role to play in this preparation. Our duty and responsibility to our own self must take priority as we are trained by our parents and teachers. Parents and teachers must strive to make children mentally tough to accept failures and successes at the equal footing. Developing the right spirit, the right way with the right skill set is all that is the need of the hour. Half the battle is won if our readiness and preparedness is in the right direction. The rest depends on how we deal with the result.
Well, all said and done, it is imperative that early and primary years of education shape our personality and help us condition ourselves for the upcoming challenges. Once we are accustomed, we are adept in dealing with unforeseen situations. . Decision making, individuality, competitiveness, thinking out of the box become a habit when we are trained and drilled in this direction.
The word ‘competition’ should not inhibit or limit our possibilities. On the other hand, it should motivate and encourage us to widen our perspective, enhance our creative capacity, hone our skills, accept the challenges, think, innovate and find a better version of ourselves each time, even if we fail’. It would like to conclude by redefining COMPETITION with an acronym as
C–Courage; O–Optimism; M–Maturity; P– Peer motivation; E–Endear; T–Think; I–Ignite; T– Tactful; I– Inductive; O–Opulent; N–Never say No;
Let’s take all competitions as new opportunities. Each opportunity brings forth new experience and learning. Each opportunity adds to growth and development.
“I learn I learn
I learn each moment of the day!
I survive as I learn-
New challenges each day!
Bring forth a new way-
I learn I learn-
To grow and to know
Hale and hearty
I will win
I will win
Let my skills speak!”
Hope you enjoyed the read and it helped you understand what a healthy competitive spirit is!
Author: Shikha Sondhi, English Lead, PGT, MRIS Mohali