1. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Is it bad being competitive?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Charisma, Dec 29, 2014.

    (I'm not starting off with a debate question here, but more of a scenario. Let's see how it evolves!)

    I am friends with one person who happens to be with me in the valedictorian race. To be clear, I don't know that for sure, but I haven't heard of a higher set of CGPAs in my batch, and since selection is based purely on CGPA in my institute, I am assuming that we may qualify for it. Regardless of the valedictorian award, there's also the departmental award (highest CGPA in major) which, we definitely may qualify for.

    Anyway, point being, we're really close in the race--I guess his CGPA is 3.96, mine is slightly higher. So, in other words, even a slight lapse can tip the scales in his favor. Which is okay and fair game, if it happens I'd be bummed but I'd deal with it. Though practically, I do want the award. I don't lie about it; if I could get it, why wouldn't I? So I do keep an eye on his grades and ask him every now and then where he stands. (PS: I share mine too if he asks).

    Some time back we were chatting and I asked his marks in a quiz (we're in the course together). He didn't share, so I shared mine and when he didn't say anything, I noted that he probably got a higher mark than mine. Then I teased him that I better get higher marks on the next quiz so I could beat him. And he just flared up. He chastised me for being so competitive and having a lose-lose attitude. He impressed that I was being insecure and pathetic.

    I haven't spoken to him about it since, and I don't really care to, since I don't like being spoken to that way. But I'm just wondering--is he right? I don't mean to be petty, and he's my friend regardless of who wins the race. Is it bad to care for the award? To work hard for it? I'm just a bit confused now. o_O I guess I'll get biased answers because competitiveness is valued as an individualistic trait, but collectivist cultures believe in cooperation. But any opinion is valuable. :D
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe he's gotten tired of it, feels it's an old 'joke', no longer humorous? Or maybe he's not all that concerned about it and has just gotten tired of playing along with your competitiveness. It seems obvious that he no longer wants to participate in your race, so I'd leave it alone, continue to be his friend, and just let the chips fall where they may as far as the award. (Frankly, once you're out of school, it won't mean diddly anyway.) Worry about your own performance and forget about his - after all, you don't know what grades other students are getting so why worry about his?
     
  3. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Humility and brains will get you a lot further in life than just brains and the in-your-face, I'm better than you attitude you're currently exhibiting.
     
  4. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Possibly. Thanks for your input. :)

    I'm curious, how do you abstract that I have such an attitude from my post?
     
  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What's your major @Charisma?
     
  6. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am slightly biased here as excessive competitiveness is one of my least favourite traits. It is basically a need by someone to boost their own ego through someone else's comparative failure; and I find this an unpleasant characteristic. I will usually avoid the sort of people who exhibit it.

    Now, by excessive competitiveness I mean the following sorts of traits; anger when losing at a board game (or conceit when winning), giving an inaccurate handicap in golf, achieving a promotion by rubbishing the other candidates rather than relying upon their own merit, or simply making it abundantly clear that beating you means a great deal to them.

    So if I was in his shoes, I would also find this sort of competitiveness quite trying.
     
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  7. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I have two majors, Biotechnology and Psychology. The major my friend and I have in common is Biotechnology.
     
  8. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I'm not sure why anyone would like that kind of competitiveness. And I agree with you, it would show that someone finds victory in other people's loss, rather than just doing their best.

    Except I don't ever think I've consciously been that way. Like I stated originally, I don't mind if he does better than or or not; I'm not going to throw tantrum because he did. I'd just be upset if I didn't do good enough for myself. Yes, if I did okay on a quiz and majority of the class did better, I'd be worried if I need to work on my understanding of the course, and whatnot. I also do care if I'm not achieving the goals I've set out for myself. But I don't think that equates with making others feel bad or putting them down to make yourself feel better. Not by and large. And I have never thought to myself "I'm better than you" or "Haha, you flunked the quiz so now I rule." Let alone say anything along those lines! If he screws up, he's my friend and I'd wonder how I can help him out. Always have.

    I guess the general consensus thus far is that I'm wrong in trying to compete because that makes me arrogant. I'm not saying you're wrong, you may be absolutely right, but I don't really see how wanting to do good is equal to being a dick.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't make you a dick. For those wih high gpas, this sort of thing is fun. But look, you got to be careful. College is ending and now you'll have to back up those high scores in the next stage of your life if you want to stay competitive.
     
  10. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Ah yes, I call it the Winner's Curse. There's actually a trend now that none of the valedictorians of this university in the past three years of my time here have been able to get scholarship abroad for further education. Two of them are studying at a prestigious local institute, the other continued further education at the same university and now has a job (of sorts). I'd think a valedictorian could do better, but then, high CGPA doesn't necessarily mean high caliber and professional success, I suppose. Especially when a good number of brilliant people (by popular opinion) were college dropouts XD
     
  11. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds like you are playing a game with this person, where the score happens to be your GPA and the award happens to be an academic title. So just play it like you would normally play a game. What kinds of games do you like to pay? How do you tend to play them? Are you typically cocky or humble? Do you like to intimidate your opponents or let them underestimate you? Do you focus more on winning or on enjoying others' company? etc.

    And above all: do you care enough about games that your life revolves around them?
     
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  12. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I didn't really get the allegory. o_O
     
  13. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    To exist in balance or extremity? The worth of the game; the worth of playing it. It is not, necessarily, as I see it, a point inhered in itself, but more of an informal self-questioning: ask yourself those questions (@daemon's) and your answers will yield pieces of your character; then ask if those pieces are desirable. At the end of the day: Treat it like a game, if this is what it is, what it ought be: subordinate.
     
  14. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am completely lost now.
     
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  15. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oxford University will only accept excellent academic records.

    Oxford University will prefer rounded individuals.

    Oxford doesn't want somebody who has to bust a gut just to hit the grades, they prefer the "gifted amateur".
     
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It's not bad to be competitive, it's bad to be smug. I honestly wish I was more competitive, as I'm often not. I don't like the fight, and I don't like to do things I think I'm not very good at - which means I don't do as many sports as I sometimes would like to, for example.

    The impression I get reading this is that he is mostly in the wrong. He shouldn't have taken things so personally, but also you were also in the wrong as you should have thought he might not have wanted to talk about it.

    Also, things are never so simple as competitive = individual, and cooperation = collectivism. There is a time and a place for both. It is good, great, to push yourself to always be better, but don't become wrapped up in your own ego and start to think you are above a little help. No one is.

    Right.

    Right.

    I'm certain that's not true.
     
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  17. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    Basically. If you are going to go down that path, make sure you can look in the mirror and be comfortable with who you see.
     
  18. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is not an allegory; it is a statement of fact. You are not doing something like playing a game; you are playing a game. So play it like a game.
     
  19. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    *To clearly show my humility to everyone around here, I won't use my own wisdom. Instead, I will show my own willingness to award praise onto others by offering a couple of quotes:

    My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. -Gandhi

    The existing principle of selfish interest and competition has been carried to its extreme point; and, in its progress, has isolated the heart of man [emphasis added by me], blunted the edge of his finest sensibilities, and annihilated all his most generous impulses and sympathies. -Frances Wright

    *My attempt at humor, in case it's not obvious.
     
  20. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I concur with @Chinspinner ...noooo idea what you just said. XD Sorry.

    Well yes, it's true. I've tried to be a bit rounder than others, been actively involved in two societies for two years, along with a few other extracurriculars. Hopefully it will work in my favor.

    Okay, I thought so too, and yes, I guess I pushed him too far. Which is why I've stopped asking him about it. And of course, collectivism and individualism is a continuum, and I like to believe I'm a little bit of both, in fact, I think we all should be.

    Down the path of carnage? :D But the question remains--is it a path worth fighting for?

    But why?

    It seems from the quotes you've chosen, that competitiveness equals ruthlessness and selfishness. I find that quite a remarkable jump, while I firmly believe one must thing of the group along with oneself, I don't see it as a dichotomy of which you could only be on either side of.
     
  21. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never stated that, and I don't believe that. I'm not trying to force you to think about competition in any specific way. Those quotes should hopefully help you ask questions that you need to answer for yourself. Take from them as you will (which it appears is very little).
     
  22. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I said "It seems from the quotes you've chosen." Whether or not you said it is meaningless--the quotes impress upon that idea, or at least, that's what I took from it. Quotes are not unbiased statistics that propel questions--they are opinions, and they will definitely influence one to think in a certain way. There's no need to be edgy about it, just because you didn't like my abstraction doesn't mean I didn't take anything from it. I just took it a different way.
     
  23. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a very pedantic response. Regardless, I've said all that I've wanted to.
     
  24. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Do you think too much competition can be beneficial - not good but beneficial?
     
  25. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Thanks for the critique...? :p

    I think so. I mean, we are just talking about this in another thread, about how psychopaths are highly successful because they're not guilty about hurting others to advance themselves. Too much competition, on an individual level, would make the person a conceited prick I suppose, but they'd get what they want. And depending on who they are, it might make them reasonably happy.
    On an organizational level (Ivy League schools and even workplaces that encourage competition), such spirit also drives people to work hard to get there, and work hard once they are there. They make you your competitor's enemy and make you think you're working for your success, while really they just want the best results from you for themselves. Which is the fundamental truth of life I suppose.
     

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