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Of Cards and Competition May 11, 2009

Posted by aimepst in Uncategorized.
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I was on the winning team. Which I guess means I should be thrilled. But I found the whole experience of last Thursday’s Build-A-House-of-Cards activity somewhat discouraging. I mean really guys, what’s with all the competition?

We live in a time where competition has overrun our lives. We compete with each other to get into schools and jobs. We compete for popularity, friends, and significant others.  Our votes, dollars, and loyalties are subject to who can “win us over.” We even have competition for the sake of competition. Consider most sporting activities, which could be looked at as highly endorsed opportunities to one-up each other.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of sports and I proud supporter of my teams. Competition does have its place -and can be beneficial. But I found that on Thursday the competition aspect of the activity made people secretive, skeptical, and self-serving. It took some very big thinkers to step outside the “competition trap” -or the mindset that winning is dependent on exclusivity and disadvantaging others – to come up with a truly creative way to approach the whole activity. In the end, the creativity needed to “win” in this project wasn’t how to design a stellar house-of-cards, but how to build a team that was trusting, open, and committed to a communal goal.

Sometimes there’s a point to competition. But I’m with Homer Simpson on this one:

“Damn you Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots. Can’t we all just get along?”

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