I spent some much-needed time with family this past weekend; kid time is always good time... well, once you figure out how to get them to stop fighting over you.
My nephew is playing baseball this summer and his team has been doing very well. I'd planned to see him play on Friday night, but the other team didn't have enough players and had to forfeit. It dawned on me to ask, "Would you rather play and potentially lose or not play and win by forfeit?"
"Win by forfeit," he said.
"But you don't get to play," I clarified.
"But we win, right?" he replied.
He was right, they do win and I was right, they don't get to play. I remember when my Grandpa used to tell me about packing a sack lunch in the morning and walking to the baseball field. If two guys were there, then they'd play hot box. With three guys they could play Over the Line and, with more guys, they'd eventually be able to field full teams and play ball until they had to scamper home before dark.
PLAY ball, not WIN ball.
Why has our culture, maybe even the world, placed so much emphasis on the competition and not the activity? My phone is better than yours. My musical tastes are so much more interesting than yours. My life is better than yours. My car is cooler than yours. All of this points to some objective panel out there that determines what really matters in the world, when we all know that no such panel exists. Comparing phones or musical interests has nothing to do with some objective evaluation, your phone works for you and my phone works for me.
End of story.
In competition there are always winners and losers. If we make everything in life about a competition, then we'll always have winners and losers. Someone will win in a relationship and someone will lose. Someone will be a loser. Do you really want to spend all of your time in a relationship trying to beat your partner? No, I don't either. We have to accept that we will have differences between us and it doesn't make one trait better than the other.
I want to feel lucky that I've found love, not that I've won it be knocking over some milk bottles at a carnival. I want to be in a relationship where we work out problems together, not compete to see who can figure out the answer first. Or worse, play the "he said, she said" game everyday because we aren't able to communicate in the first place and someone needs to win.
I don't want to live in a world where I feel lucky that I won by forfeit; I want to feel lucky that had the opportunity to play.
What about you?