Collaboration over competition

This is something I’ve been saying on repeat, ad nauseaum to folx within the non-profits and activist circles for years. Whether its for creating brand recognition, getting more funding or working in teams but to seek validation from our supervisors and bosses. It’s competition driving us- pegging us to be at odds with each other and even with ourselves. As @adriennemareebrown says “competing with all my co-workers for the approval of our boss in a highly socialized situation does not produce the best work! It only produces this kind of cutthroat, ever-shifting hierarchy; a hierarchy that doesn’t actually serve our brilliance!”.

Competition is how capitalism manifests itself in people. It makes us think that we as individuals matter over the collective. That unless we make sure we shine and get recognised nothing else matters. In the age of social media it gives us our 7 minutes of fame. And when we are not in the spotlight we feel as if we have failed. But this isn’t failure. This is just us not getting instant gratification that capitalism has gotten us so used to. This is how it fuels consumerism. It’s turned people into consumers and clients and has given corporations rights- rights that even some people don’t have.

Competition doesn’t build a community of care but rather does the opposite. Some say that some forms of competition are healthy — that it teaches us to do better and reach for more. I disagree. I think it teaches us to only care and think about ourselves. Its sad that a lot of sports are entrenched in this concept and it’s something we feed our children from when they are very young. It’s all about winning and being recognised for it. There are other ways of being seen- that’s what we need to teach our children- they are seen for who they are and how they feel- they don’t need to prove their worth through moving ahead of and stepping over others. They need to lift others up and do the work together. No competition between beings is healthy as it creates a ‘power over’ dynamic instead of collaboration, equality and equity. Words often used but seldom applied. Like really!