Rewards and Losing

When I was growing up, I became somewhat of an achievement addiction. I liked joining competitions at school and such. It wasn't so much that I wanted others to lose as much as I wanted to apply myself to a challenge and receive the reward for a job well done. Also, being someone that was born into a poor family with limited resources, it made me feel good to do so.. like I was showing myself to be worth more by simply getting a certificate or medal, and others could see my value, despite my modest upbringings.

However, one thing that I realized over time is that everyone wants to do the same, even if their method of expression and arena of competition is different. A couple examples...

...People choose video games to play with levels and people they have to beat. In some cases, their goal is even to cause others to fail, which is a bit too far for me.

...People do degrees and take job preparations that would cause them to make more than they are currently making and more than their immediate peers.

...People like to buy things or wear clothes that are new or trendy to establish their value to others that see them.

...The tv shows and popular culture that is presented in magazines and in media reflect those that have more than what others have. This, like the other examples, is true of all political parties, genders, etc.

However, modern culture... while still seeking personal achievement in all of these areas.. has established a communal desire that OTHERS WITH MORE would fail. This resonates with the desire in video games for others to lose. It's not really a new concept. The Bible calls it envy, and it has founded many wars and revolutions, yet all of those wars ended with NEW people in power that glorified their achievement.

Similarly, history and culture has recognized and recognizes LOSING as something that is not only allowed but enforced by even those calling for equal results. Not everyone is given a job that is open. People leave bad relationships for those that are better. People leave restrictive communities for those that are more open. People need loss to recognize goals, and modern day achievement is BUILT on lack. Thomas Edison said, "Discontent is the first necessity of progress," and Oscar Wilde said, "
Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation." We know what to seek by recognizing what we lack, and that isn't just a motivator to leave others but to improve ourselves FOR others, as well.

So, rather than seek to lower all others to be the lowest common denominator, maybe we should all seek progress and allow those that reach their goals to receive their rewards as a light of hope to us all.


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