I’ve been re-reading a book that I haven’t looked at in years. The book is called “Awareness” by Anthony DeMello.
I wanted to share some thoughts on a particular section of it.
“There’s an American doctor who wrote about the effect of competition on his life. He went to a medical school in Switzerland and there was a fairly large contingent of Americans at that school.
He said some of the students went into shock when they realized that there were no grades, there were no awards, there was no dean’s list, no first or second in the class at the school.
You either passed or you didn’t.
“Some of just couldn’t take it,” he said. “We thought there must be some kind of trick here.”
So some of them went to another school. Those who survived suddenly discovered a strange thing they never noticed at American universities:
[They saw] students, brilliant ones, helping others to pass, sharing notes. His son goes to medical school in the United States and he tells him that, in the lab, people often tamper with the microscope so that it’ll take the next student three or four minutes to readjust it. Competition.
They have to succeed. They have to be perfect.
– Anthony DeMello, “Awareness” - pg 91-92
I remember reading this years ago when I was taking some classes in New York City. The concept blew my mind. Here I was in one of the most competitive, angry, bustling, overwhelming cities in the world - and I found myself wondering what this country would look like if it functioned that way.
I found myself wondering what business would look like when we functioned in a manner that was conducive to everyone’s success, not just our own.
I found myself wondering what the world would look like if we always thought of the benefit of all of us instead of just some of us.
Of course, this is what we were all taught in preschool.
You know, things like “kindness” and “sharing” and “cooperation”.
And then somewhere along the line we were taught (or we experienced things) that competition is the only way to get ahead. And in the midst of that, we were presented a world view that has people pushing one another down in order to get ahead themselves.
That’s not a world view that I adhere to.
That is not a world view that fosters human progress.
I am by no means saying I have mastered this - but I have made it my intention for quite some time now to do what I can to always help those around me - even if by traditional standards those people are my “competition”.
I believe that collaboration and cooperation will always lead to more creativity than competition.
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