An open letter to many who give much importance to competition over creativity and the potential that lies within the upcoming generation.
Dear Parents, Students and Educators:
Please read the following with a mind free from any bias or conditioning and do give it a thought before jumping to any conclusions or being judgmental. Maybe you don’t want the life you currently live, and that’s perfectly OK. We are all unique and have options. We are not perfect and cannot make everyone happy all the time. The choice is up to you.
Let me begin with simple questions
– Why do most adults prefer going to the gym instead of playing games?
– Why have children stopped playing games?
– Should everyone play? Do we want them to play? If so, for what reason?
– Do we have some kind of fear in us?
– Do we get angry fast?
– Are we able to manage the stress in our lives?
Let us find out the answers to all these questions.
According to our research and understanding, all this happens because games have always been perceived as winning and losing; and nobody wants to lose. Today, competitive games teach us to beat the opponent and win by hook or by crook; to be ruthless; to pull others down as crab mentality; to boost negative ego; and to be selfish. These traits persist even if we do not want it to. We continue to say “have sportsman’s spirits”, but yet we hear of cases of doping, match fixing, political intervention, etc. These are some of the bigger issues, but there are small actions that are just as common – like hitting, negative hooting, cheating or even raising unnecessary objection, if we see the other team or player doing better than us.
What can we do to encourage people to continue playing games all their lives?
The answers lie in creating a new dimension for sports and games and thus, give our life a new dimension, as well.
Redefining sports and games
We should learn to play not for the title of winning or beating someone. There are a number of alternative reasons instead like:
- Fitness – both physical and mental
- Skill Development,
- Building competency
- Being proactive
- Learning strategy and planning
- Play for joy, enjoyment, relaxation and fun
- Learn to co-operate and collaborate as a team
- Positive social interaction
- Feel good factor
If we play for the above objectives, we will continue to play all our lives till we die, because our fear of losing or of comparison will vanish. Once we know the real benefits of playing we will begin to enjoy sports. If we practice and train regularly with passion, we will become competent and excel. Research shows that by practicing for 10000 hours; we can achieve the highest level of expertise in any field. By doing this, we can become better people, imbibed with positive traits like being helpful, and spreading happiness and positivity all around. Hence; negativities like fear, anger and stress will automatically disappear. Come; let us play games for enjoyment by saying no to competition.
Looking beyond sports
The world has 80:20 ratio for almost everything. Let us assume that we are a part of the top 20%. We are wealthy and enjoy more luxuries than others; but we are not necessarily relaxed, happy, or satisfied.
– Do you know why?
Because we always want more. We have been conditioned all our lives to win and to be better than the other. Once we achieve an admirable status, we then want to flaunt it among others.
– Do we buy things like gadgets/cars for their use; or has it now become a status symbol?
– Who defines these statuses? Does money and wealth now define the quality of life we live?
Even the two well-known billionaire brothers, cannot live happily with each other. Living a life of abundance begins by giving whole heartedly, caring, co-operating, supporting and collaborating. And not by blaming, complaining, condemning or criticizing. It is not our fault that we do all this, because we have been conditioned from the beginning to be the best in everything and to compare ourselves till we prove to be better than the other.
The question then arises – Do we want to change this? And how can we?
One way of changing this is by saying ‘No’ to competition. We should instead, learn to support, co-operate, collaborate and care for each other unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. There is enough to fulfill everyone’s need in this world, but not for everyone’s greed!
To stay happy unconditionally, you need to take charge of your life by keeping the remote in your hand and not letting others control your life.
We condition children to think “If you do this, you will get this”, but such a thought process is like conditioning children towards corruption – by bribing them to achieve something just to get something in return. When these children grow up, we then expect them to fight against corruption or live with it. Is this ok? Like corruption, competition is a disease.
Let’s take the example of a lady/man cooking for everybody at home. Does s/he cook to be appreciated or get something in return? S/he puts all her/his love, care and heart in cooking and that is why we all like the food better than eating at the best restaurants. If the cook works unconditionally with love and passion, the food will always taste better rather than when s/he works to get something in return.
All of us are unique and different in many ways and hence, there is no scope for comparison or competition. Even a set of twins born to the same parents, who live in the same atmosphere, go to the same school, turn out to be different with skills, interests, qualities, strengths and weaknesses.
There is no healthy competition, just as there is no healthy disease. Believe me; playing in matches and tournaments is not required at all. Even if people participate and win, what comes next? At what cost? And why? If we play matches it should be for enjoyment and performance, and not to beat the other. The aim should be to build competence.
Do not live your dreams through your children
We do not want our students to take unnecessary stress and get into the habit of wanting to beat others. Everyone in this world has enough market to sell their products and services. Competition begins when one is greedy (it is called ‘being ambitious’ in the business world).
Sunshine Worldwide School was started with a different vision and we have certainly taken long to reach this level. The climb to this level could have been quicker if we had started a run-of-the-mill school, but we wanted to make a difference. For us, students need to be dealt with as humans and not as machines.
Creating a new dimension to life
Instead of meeting over coffee or a drink at night, we suggest meeting at 5 a.m. in the morning at the beach / garden / playground to play a game of cricket, football, basketball or the simpler games like Frisbee, kho-kho, seven tiles, or just run around in sand and water.
Imagine what could happen if we do this, when we can experience it once, maybe this weekend. This would certainly be an excellent way to spend quality time and breathe fresh air with our children and friends. We may even avoid going to the closed air-conditioned gym. This is after all the life that even nature wants us to live.
Let us educate ourselves to create a new world.
Kush Khaitan’s nature of being an entrepreneur means that he is fully embraced with ambiguity and being comfortable with being challenged regularly. His role as an entrepreneur is a riveting roller coaster of emotions with tremendous highs and at times, difficult lows, but one thing that always helps him through the ups and downs is to connect with some of the greatest minds.