Competition is simply a word used to describe the driving power behind society. However, it carries a deeper meaning than many may realize. Daily life is about waking up to go to school, trying your hardest to earn the best grades and realizing that all the effort was worth the sweat and tears. Likewise, going to work to earn a living seems straightforward, but the true meaning behind the working economy is the urge to fulfill human desires. Your salary at the end of each month is not only used to purchase necessities but also to buy the latest trend, whether it's a shirt, a new iPhone or even a new car. Like my friend Shanru has shown me, competition is all an illusion that reflects your personal intentions and personality. Every action has a purpose, which extends to the root of human competition, and in a world like this today, does this competition really have a meaning?
As an Asian minority student in a predominantly white area, standards are high for my performances. While everyone shoots me a look of annoyance or disgust as I protest my 90 percent quiz grade, they have not grasped the power of competition. To me, grades not only reflect how much effort I exert, but they also gauge how well I truly know the material. Worrying over a low A or a B on an assignment is a cautionary signal that I need to do better or else I will fall behind. Sacrificing my social time for a few hours of intense study and understanding not only brings me satisfaction when I know that I understand the material, but it also comforts me to know that my peers are perhaps a few steps behind me.
In my mind, competition is something that is needed to push people to do great things. Motivation, passion and dedication all stem from this one desire: to be at the top. The fear of failure and humiliation that comes from poor results ruins the one thing that sets the standards for every person: reputation. Once you have established yourself as a high-earning, smart and hardworking student or employee, a sudden drop of status or outcome can be detrimental to your reputation. This is an ideal example of an illusion, which is supported by the psychological fear and violation of standards that create the exact purpose of competition.
While competition is simply a factor of human greed, does it have a purpose? Being at the top of your class, constantly earning the top grades and graduating as valedictorian surely has its victories, but let the truth be known; the cycle never ends. When is it time to be satisfied? When is it time to stop, slow down and acknowledge that what you have done is finally good enough? When is it time to let judgement slip past you? There will always be someone better than you, and because of this, competition never ends. After high school, then college, employment, retirement and finally....death?
The constant competition to mash everyone you can do into four years of high school to securely pack your resume with accomplishments and worthwhile projects is all for the sake of being admitted the best colleges. Once in that college, you try to do your best and pass all your courses, thus landing you a good job, which you hope is high paying, so you can finally gain financial freedom and buy the latest treasures and show off to your friends. Once you finally reach that wealth, you see that your wealthy neighbors have Ferrari and oh-so-lavish Gucci bags, which prompts you to get the same thing to reach their level. Then, you go out and buy the most expensive Burberry scarves and Louis Vuitton jackets to show that all the work you put into getting that good job has finally paid off. But is it enough? No, there is never an end. The competition of life is never ending. The competition of life can never be satisfied; therefore, is there a point of being at the top when you can never reach the top?
The decision is yours, but just keep in mind, in the competition of life, there is never a winner.