-- A blog maintained by a pessimistic over-confident High-School kid.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Competitiveness - and its relation to success

I should be writing a rough draft for an essay due tomorrow right now, but across my youtube procrastination, I've seen the extent of which competitiveness comes into play in achieving greatness. As like anything, growing up, I have been familiarized that the only one thing you need to strive to defeat is yourself and that others mean not a lot when it comes to self-improvement. But looking at examples at basketball players, they strive to be the best, and would not be satisfied with anything less. While they are always improving, the narrative that these YouTubers fit them in implies that they would be content if they are the best. Stephen Curry within his masterclass series opposes this viewpoint as he said that every time he goes into the gym, he aims to come out better than he was when he went in and not to be better than someone. Compared with Kobe, what I understand is that he wants to win and be the best in the field every time he plays. Despite some counter-examples, there is more of a motif of the successful people all being competitive and aiming to surpass the next better person. While I do not care much about how other people are better, I question if I should adopt the same mentality.

I do not much like being competitive. If a person is better than me, then he is better than me, and I know thousands of people are better than him. If I strive to beat him, then there will still be thousands, or, to be honest, millions that are better than this heightened me. There is just no good reason to look upon a person and say you are better. But without that, it might hinder your ambition to become better. When you isolate yourself from the competition, then your pace of improvement is taken out of context. You might be improving faster or slower than others, and you would have no idea. But the opposite is also troublesome: Taking in how other people are better and improving faster than you comes frustration, and probably everyone has first-hand experience at this. Frustration for me does not translate to productivity, and it instead takes the form of giving up. If you are already working at your hardest and a person is still better and improving faster, what are your chances of catching up? I always saw competitiveness as a negative thing, and I think I am justified. Horrible things had been derived from human competitiveness as people battles each other and sacrifice lives for the cause.

But more often than not, this chaos that comes from being competitive results in advancements that would be non-existent otherwise. Human competitiveness to gain more land, and be nationally more competent had led to wars that brought us technology. Competitiveness between companies to earn more money than the other brings us better products. Competitiveness to get into college had everyone being more educated. There is a strong case to be made for competitiveness, but I am still not sold. In the past, I just wanted to create, to make things out of nothing. This desire of mine drove me to "educate" myself on coding, drawing... and even in some case, studying. I wanted to materialize fictional moments, programs, and commodities from my parents in each of the cases. This drove me to be kinda "talented" among peers as I am above average with coding, drawing, and with grades. I have gained a better "life grade" without competitiveness, and it proves that success does not need to be tied with it. But at the same time, if you were to stuck me in a testing facility with my peers currently, I am nowhere near being at the top. More so just above average.

The lack of competitiveness explains my situation now in school. In Hong Kong or Shanghai, I was not driven by the grade rankings that are always publicized in Chinese schools. I normally rank above average, and once 32 out of the grade. Having a sister that periodically ranks top 10 or higher in the grade never troubled me much. I never think much about people who are better, nor did I care. But in hindsight, I am quite frustrated by how I didn't want to rank higher. A more ambitious young self would provide me with much more substance to studying at school now. While others at the same grade as me are perfectly comfortable writing both English and Chinese essays, I am currently borderline okay with English and hiccupy with Chinese. With a more solid background in academics, I believe I would be way more fluent in both. Not being competitive leads to my less successful position in academics.

With competitiveness proving to be an important motivation to achieve greatness, the question that comes is why can't we improve without it. In my eyes, Elon Musk is the perfect example of improving without pressure. Currently, Elon Musk is trying to build an underground hyperspeed transportation system, and he is faced with great criticism. People question the success rate or benefit of such transportation. If this were in times of "hyper-overpopulation" and everyone is rushing to find the big solution to the problem, the competition would naturally justify Elon Musks intention. Elon Musk said that technology would not improve by itself, without taking a great leap. And the lack of competition in people makes people fail to identify the need for this great leap. If the world is aligned with Elon Musks philosophy and is on board with self-improvement without competition, then negativity from trying to beat others does not need to persist. But this idealized ideology is not yet true, and the majority of people, including me, would need competition to motivate them.

As much as I like being isolated from comparison and hate competitiveness, I think I could use a lot of competitiveness. The only downside is that competitiveness also brings negativity and exhaustion. But unless I have a better motivation for improving, I think this is the only option for now. However, at the same time, I seldom do what I say I am going to do, and I very much do despise comparison, so I will just see what will become of me in a couple of months and look back again.

A clique comic that I was tasked to do for homework.
The topic is - a stereotype about people from a place.

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