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,
This competitive nature happens on all levels,
international, community or individual. It happens between
human beings. It happens between the human race and
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
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
We become suspicious of anything that is different from
us. So people of different ethnic origins from us, people
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
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
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.