I’ll start by making a confession – my article titles will more-often-than-not be borrowed from a movie, book or musical piece. Chances are, you’ll have heard of it, but if you’ve not, feel free to look it up on YouTube, my favorite source of information-in-a-video.
“We’ve only just begun, you’ll find us chasing the sun,” belted out the boys of The Wanted. I think their song is an appropriate metaphor for something we 21CG’s face a lot – competition. Whether it's for captain of the school/college football team, or a chance to score a highly selective job/position, competition exists, and learning how to deal with it (and I’m probably not the expert on this one, but I’ll give it a try) is integral to our personal and professional growth.
I’ll start by debunking the myths:
Is it wrong to be competitive?
I would love to say that we should all work in harmony and help each other all the time. No, actually, nevermind, I do say that. But the truth is, in a world where unicorns and magical shoes don’t exist (sorry, to burst the bubble, girls!), there are situations that don’t lend themselves to the ‘work together’ attitude. Yes, there will be times when you should definitely help out the chica to your right (examples include group projects and shopping trips), but there are also moments when it’s important for you to look out for yourself. It’s hard to know the difference (and I confess, I might have gotten carried away once or twice), but when you start hoping for your competitor to ‘lose’ (or whatever the case may be) instead of working towards your goal itself, you know you’ve got a problem.
How do I strike the balance between looking out for myself and helping others?
In all honestly, I’m still trying to figure out the balance myself. I’ve gone extreme on both ends, and sometimes that didn’t end up working out for the best. But a few examples might help you figure out the right steps for your own lives. I recently had a friend talk to me about applying for an internship position at a local company. When I asked her how she’d heard of it, she said she knew another friend was applying there, and added, “But I think I can beat her out for the position.” This would be an appropriate moment for the wrong answer buzzer to sound. I would say, it’s okay to find out about opportunities through others; after all, you’re not harming anyone in the process. But to ‘grab’ an opportunity that someone else found first – and rightly so- may not be the right thing to do.
A final thought – 21CG’s are known for their ambition, as they rightly should be. Just don’t let ambition turn into a competition … well, at least not all the time!
As a 21CG have you faced similar situations? What is your advice for young, aspiring go-getters on finding the balance between competing and cooperating?
Article by: Samvitha Ram
Picture Courtesy: reasonstobefit.tumblr.com