The “everyone’s a winner” mentality is a relatively new phenomenon with college students experiencing the emergence of this new mentality as they went through high school. When we were young, there were winners and losers. If you wanted a trophy, you had to be the best. However, as we entered high school, the standards to be considered a “winner” started to change. GPA requirements to graduate with honors were lowered and valedictorians and salutatorians were eliminated because it “wasn’t fair” to the other students. Everyone started receiving a participation trophy and the phrase “A for effort” suddenly was seen as a compliment and a sense of achievement. While the criticism towards the “everyone’s a winner” mentality is mostly focused on sporting events, this mentality will ruin much more than a youth soccer game.

While the change in youth sporting events and the level of competition they bring has been drastic, sports aren’t the only thing being affected by creating a world full of “winners.” Schools, social interactions, even jobs are being influenced. Schools are feeling pressure from students and parents to allow students to take classes that they aren’t qualified to take, lower expectations, and boost grades. National Honor Society used to be a recognition that hard-working students received during the junior year of high school. Now it’s something that a large numbers of students qualify for, making it less meaningful. There is a new generation starting to enter the workforce and they are unable to follow direction and work hard. Expecting recognition after doing what you’re supposed to be doing is not going to get anyone anywhere fast.

Let me remind everyone: we live in a capitalist economy. If you want something in the business world, you are expected to go out and fight for it. No one will give you a promotion because you tried or gave an “A for effort.” By making everyone a winner, no one learns how to lose graciously or pick themselves up from a failure. Suddenly, the student who was told in elementary school that they are very intelligent is crying because they are failing a college class and the professor won’t pass them. The athlete who received a trophy every year can’t understand why they didn’t make varsity. People are expecting to get recognition for doing small things correctly and are upset when they don’t. The “everyone’s a winner” mentality is creating a new type of person, the person who thinks they’re the best at everything and that no one will ever say anything negative to them. The problem is, people will say negative things to them and they won’t be able to handle it.