Competition arises from the need to achieve a single end for which there is more than one aspirant. If you leaf through the pages of the Oxford Concise Dictionary, competition will be described as, “the activity or condition of competing against others; an event or contests in which people compete”. The word competition is originally English and was derived from compete which means striving to gain or win something by defeating someone. Its root is a Latin word competere (com = together + petere = aim at or seek).
In today’s world the terms ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ competition are recurrent. Since competition entails a literal fighting for a coveted goal, it can sometimes be destructive and sometimes constructive. When greed and ambition get the better of our thinking faculty then we tend to tread the path of immorality and evil. Groups, individuals, organizations, etc. can be completely eliminated, jeopardized or harassed until the object of the contest is won by the evil inflictor. Common objects of contention are basic necessities like food, water, resources; fame or prestige; an honour or award; wealth and luxury; etc.
Conversely, competition can also serve as an incentive for self improvement or betterment. When competition ceases to be the cause of rivalry it can be considered as an impetus to take all failures as a challenge and improve one’s abilities. Competition can also be read as a byword for innovation and creativity. In the absence of competition, improved and user friendly electronic goods, convenient packaged food, air-conditioned supermarkets, better educational institutes, quality and updated books, new avenues for sports like 20-20 cricket, etc. would not have come into being.
Sometimes competition ensues between individuals, between groups, among individuals and groups and so on and so forth. It is a word that is used at length in all facets of our daily life. Students will be familiar with competition in education. Competition also pervades the sphere of sports, law, business, industry, media, etc. Nowadays tournaments, events and talent hunts are also referred to as competition.
Colloquially we refer to competition as ‘rat race’ and with time the need to excel has exceeded by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, this insane run for success has ruined the childhood that children should have ideally cherished. Forced to comply with the go of the day, pupils are pressurized to be party to the competition, mostly against their wishes. This has not only created psychological unrest but unable to cope with the competition, students commit suicide, murder and theft.
Tom Landry gives the best advice to all aspiring to be part of a competition: “When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn.”