A Quintessential Human Trait
As I was reading my news this morning (don’t have the stomach to watch any more), I was naturally drawn to the quagmire that is the U.S. government shut down that screams to me from the headlines. (I can’t read the sports, as the Saints suffered a heartbreaking defeat on Sunday!) As my eyes went from headline to headline, I began to notice how they were all about winning or losing. So the “right” was winning/losing because… or the left was winning/losing because… Then the articles about the current negotiations again winning and losing… I don’t want to weigh in on the topics themselves as that would add more fuel to a fire that is well out of control; however the concept of competition with the main goal of winning really struck me.
My thoughts immediately went to “this is ridiculous”, can’t saner heads prevail? Why must everything be seen in the context of competition? It then dawned on me that this is a quintessential human trait, competition. Winners and losers, saving or losing face or victory and defeat. I am equally as guilty of this, as I am often defined as “competitive with air”, meaning I never met a competition I wasn’t ready for.
I sat with these thoughts and realized that our current American government is merely a reflection of ourselves. I sit in my home and expect our elected representatives to rise above the fray, yet I do not. Are our elected representatives just reflecting back to us what we ourselves expect? I understand and relish in the idea of a good game, but I now see that life has become a blood sport. We have moved from the fun of the game (competition) to winning at all cost. It’s no longer about the glass being half full or half empty; it’s about smashing the glass.
I continue to ponder these ideas and look inside myself for ways I participate. Obviously my great love of our NFL team comes to mind, but I try to look deeper. Do I try to meet you where you are? Do I extend an open hand and not a fist? Do I turn the other cheek when struck on one side? These seem to be eternal questions.
I sit and breathe in the morning sun and air I ask: Does the sun compete with the moon or does it simply rise as expected? Is the moon loosing as the morning appears or is it simply moving to its proper place? Is either winning? Losing?
I realize that nature again has led me back to me. There is a time for the moon and a time for the sun each ebb and flow within their rightful place; allowing each to shine and glow, neither taking, receiving or needing anything from each other to be magnificent. I begin to feel the joy of the tie that bind us all, human.
So with that, it is my greatest wish that today in some small way I can take a step back from the abyss of competition to experience, all that this human experience has to offer, our glass and all intact.
Bonnie was inducted into the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society at St. John’s University, New York City for her work in Business Resilience.
Bonnie is Past Chair of the Association of Contingency Planners where she served for 6 years.
She is a proud native of New Orleans and has experienced what she calls, “The Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, and BP Oil Spill” disasters first hand. She has had to learn how being resilience leaders and businesses to increased performance, achieve stronger relationships, and build mental toughness that we all need in today’s ever increasing busy world.
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