Thursday, January 27, 2011

anything i can do We can do better

Are we truly that simple? There is this commercial on TV that perhaps you seen depicting a Chinese classroom about 40 years in the future talking about the fall of great societies, the United States is listed as one of them. The commercial has some eerie overtones, as it is aimed at the American public. The clip ends with the teacher proclaiming that they (the Chinese) now have Americans working for them. The goal of the video is to try to initiate chance of public policy to assure that the U.S. maintains it’s dominance in the world market.

Sarah Palin utter that we are in a “Sputnik” scenario, where America is about to be beat by other nations in advancement and we must rise to become greater. Her words are used to push us to invent, engineer, and respond to crises.
The news reported that the Muslim population in the span of 40 years will have doubled making up one fourth of the world’s population. As a Christian, I have an immediate urge to have more children and raise them up in a Christian home.

Other Churches are creating more converts than our church, and my gut reaction is to discover their secret agenda that they are (obviously in an immoral way because how could they fairly do better than our church) doing.

So my question is, are we truly that simple? Is the only way to inspire greatness through competition? From Vince Lombardi on the football field, to Winston Churchill and FDR on the global war effort we have heard that competition inspires greatness out of everyone. I believe that if most of us were honest we must also admit when our position is threatened, or when competition heightens we try to step up out game.

While competition is certainly entertaining for sports, must we always have competition to inspire the best out of people? We may even ask if using competition is always right, or is there a better way or more moral approach? Can nations achieve great innovation and exploration without competition? Can organizations build impactful companies without competition? Can we as individuals push ourselves to great accomplishments without competition?
First of all competition creates problems because it limits our success. If our goal is simply to be better than our competitors, then we limit our achievements by the competency of our competition. Should we not as people push and strive to become better even when we have far surpassed everyone else? If competition is our only motivator, than we as an individual, a company, or country could push ourselves to achieve great amounts of work and betterment, but if we fall short of our competitor that ultimately means we fail.

The big problem with competition is that it limits our success and amplifies our failure. We see this in each other today. The only time we feel successful is when we do better than someone else, and that is fearfully limiting. Competition causes us to only measure ourselves against other people. Success in competition does not depend on greatness; it simply depends on being better than those around you. In a world of competition rats become giants compared to fleas, and the intellectually average become geniuses compared to fools.

Secondly, competition isolates and limits cooperation. If we are simply looking to be better than others, than we would be hesitant to reach out and works with others. We see competition preventing progress all too plainly in our American, and global politics. Unfortunately we see this between companies and even our churches.

The goal and purpose of competition is to be better than the other person, when our goal in life should be to be better as a people. As long as we keep measuring ourselves against others we will fall short from God’s desire and we isolate ourselves from others.

Competition can be fun and exciting, but it should not be how we ultimately conduct our lives.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: - Philippians 2:3-5

This is the kind of mindset that we are all called to exhibit. By seeing others better than yourself in love we not only strive to make ourselves better, but others better with us. By working with an attitude of humility we always see the need to join with each other in fellowship, work, politics, and ministry to accomplish that which is beyond our individual self. Our motivation than is not to be better than everyone else, but to make the world better for everyone else through the love of Jesus Christ.


  1. I enjoyed your blog today.

  2. What an enlightening post, Ben. It surely isn't fulfilling when all that you aim to do is match your competitors and get rid of them. You're right -- you're putting a cap on what you're capable of achieving when you do that. Your productivity shouldn't be based on others' performance! You are your own toughest competitor, so just do the best you can and beat that!