Is the competitive approach Americans crave – also a force driving us out of the game?
“Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.” (Wendell Berry)
Cooperation Launches Growth
Compare Finland’s winning approach to U.S. test-based struggles. Have rigid tests handed unfair advantages to a few while excluding our brightest minds? Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of Centre for International Mobility, showed Finland’s as a winning team:
In my country … we believe in cooperation and sharing. Cooperation is a core starting point for growth.
Imagine what pulling-for-all could do across your organization. See dividends rise! Check out the new tug-a-war between what NY Times calls individual creativity and group creativity.
Do you agree that the origin of Apple’s greatness speaks to the power of collaboration? If so, you’ll likely also agree that rivalry shoved togetherness dangerously off-course across our nation.
In spite of competition’s flaws we default mentally to strap on blindfolds and oppose, attack or displace, rather than build. Some claim that current US contests hand money and power to a few greedy sharks who buy unhealthy influence over all. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Do you see Competition as Barb or Brain Booster?
Some suggest that social competition may be the reason for bigger brains and few disagree with scientific evidence. My question reaches beyond mere cranial capacity. What ethical influence does warfare and competition play to shape brainpower?
Brain gurus such as David Geary show positive proof of growth through competition. Any negatives though, to smack-down-matches you’ve observed lately?
Does peer rivalry increase antagonism or foster benefits?
We know from neurogenesis that people improve their lot by beliefs moved into winning tasks. We also know that competition increases IQ when people improve a personal best. It’s opposite how competition works against intelligence – when one goes after another with self-interest or unfair advantages. Who’d attribute fairness to a fox hunter’s advantages against a common fox with far fewer resources? Compare that inequity to personal growth that adds to collective gains.
Run that extra mile, write a finer essay, rebuild a better prototype, swim faster, and you literally reshape your brain chemically and electrically for higher intelligence. Even simple competitions, can alter brainwaves up or down. The jury’s still out however, if competition adds or reduces brainpower for a more successful life collectively.
Does Social Media Hurt or Help Competition?
Research is sobering. Scientists suggest, for instance, that constant Facebook, Twitter and Bebo rivalry, can actually decrease attention spans, foster instant gratification, and encourage self-centered warfare. Through competitions for followers, or one-up-ship news reporting, people reboot their brains to live winning results in the moment. Over time?
No surprise that competition alters brainpower, yet further investigation may offer fresh insights about negative or positive effects to the human brain. Benefits dominate some research and yet we’re warned of definitive ways competition can hurt more than help.
Before choosing competition or collaboration consider effects of each on brainpower:
How Could Competition Mean Fewer Losses?
1. Use tone to build goodwill. Even within competitions, tone tools open opportunities for life-changing dividends. In healthy rivalry, tone draws success like the moon attracts tides on an ocean shore.
2. Network to enhance wisdom. Fuel your brain with chemical hormones for growth and learning, by planning times ahead to engage others, rather than merely racing against them on a dime.
3. Interact across ages and cultures. Get to know people who differ from you and emulate their diverse offerings. Connect more with people unlike yourself to learn from and value differences.
4. Ask great questions. Listen, then act on hot answers that refire your efforts. To read or hear alone, works less magic in the brain than to act on answers from 2-footed questions.
6. Run from cynics or bullies. Propose competitive solutions to problems raised. Opposite abuse or toxic competitions, lie steps toward peaceful solutions, from multiple intelligences.
7. Link to high performance minds. Build with those who lead change for improvements. Facilitate innovative minds and lead fixes for broken systems, that trap hebbian thinkers.
8. Engage opposing views. Show strengths in alternative perspectives, by stepping out of comfort zones to embrace unexpected answers that lead to visible improvements.
9. Try new technologies. Rarely is it easy to learn new online skills but each time you step up to a new plate, you stretch and exercise your brain’s working memory for competitive edges.
10. Send growth zingers to peers. Draw from serotonin to affirm competitor’s ideas and share your own insights when appropriate, to offer genuine encouragement.
Here at the Mita International Brain Center, we use smart skills to create communities that compete, win and grow together. Skeptics and naysayers will always be with us, yet each day offers every chance needed to join brilliant minds who advance our world through healthy rivalry at the peaks.
Would you agree that competition against self powers-up brains for consensus-building together? It also harnesses differences into wins
What’s your take – Is competition a barb or a boost to brainpower?
Perhaps more importantly, How can we achieve more sustainable wins together?
For further discourse about your brain’s role to increase wins – see also: