5 Keys to Understanding Why Your Life (probably) Sucks # 4

We are in constant competition

If we take evolution seriously, then the reason why we lasted this long (individually and as a race) stems from the fact we have adopted a survivor mentality. Either consciously or unconsciously we subscribe to the "survival of the fittest" mentality. That means we see everyone and everything else as potential competitors. Whether the competition is about which political or religious system offers the best lifestyle or who has right of way in merging traffic, the competitive mind set thrives on proving my way of doing things is better, or my wants are more important, than yours.

As a result we become driven to prove we are bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, richer, more important than everyone else. Even once we achieve that goal, we need to maintain constant vigilance just in case someone else sneaks past our guard and proves themselves to be bigger, stronger etc.

This competitive nature happens on all levels, international, community or individual. It happens between human beings. It happens between the human race and nature.

The first European settlers in my own country (Australia) had the policy: 'If it moves, shoot it; if it doesn't move, chop it down.' Any person who works on the land knows what it's like to compete with the elements.

On a community and international level, our competitive mindset leads to doubts and suspicions, fear and hatred. The only possible way that sort of thinking can lead is into open conflict with the inevitable outcome of devastated lives.

The same can be said of our relationship with the environment.If we only see ourselves in competition with it, having to subdue it, then 'it' will suffer and so will we. The 'shoot it/chop it down' mentality of my forebears meansthere are vast tracts of land in this fragile country that are barren, desolate wastelands.

The consequences are that we take on an attitude that "it is better to be safe than to be sorry" That means we stop trying new things, and develop our lives as a safe fortress into which we can retreat from the hostile environment called life.

We become suspicious of anything that is different from us. So people of different ethnic origins from us, people who have different beliefs; people who have a different sexual orientation all challenge us by their very existence poses pose a very real threat to our own existence.

So, how do we deal with the mindset of competition? Whether it's with nature, or your fellow human beings, the answer can best be summed up in one word; Co-operation. I'm talking about a mindset of co-operation as the first step towards making your life less frustrating and more enjoyable. Such a mindset begins with the realisation that everything in your possession at this point in time came into being only as the result of many people's contribution. Think about it for a while and you will see that is true.

The upshot of that is I need you to make your contribution, just as you need me to make my contribution so that together we might live more complete lives. We all need each other.

That came home to me very strongly one time when the local garbage collectors went on strike for better conditions. As a result stinking, rotten garbage piled up in yards and in the street. It was a mess and made life very unpleasant for a while.

A job as a garbage collector is probably not one that many people aspire to, but those people provide an invaluable service, particularly in the throw-away society most of us live in.

But a change of mindset, from competition to co-operation can only start with one person. You. In fact you are the only person whose mind you can change. Trying to change someone else's mind only leads to trouble. You may find you need some help, but the first step, is to realise it IS possible and if you choose, you CAN do it.

Hey, that's two steps!

Because the first step in anything is always the hardest, you're already a significant way along the path to a better life.

Graham Hunt is the founder of Prentis Carpenter Center, an organisation established to resource an environment where those people who chose to do so could discover and work towards their potential. One way in which Graham is doing that is through his website www.higher-self-esteem-site.com/">http://www.higher-self-esteem-site.com/ Drop by anytime.


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