Winning in life is something that gets instilled in our minds from a very young age. Parents compare their children to others in the neighbourhood saying how good or bad they are in comparison, be it in their studies or other skills, at which point the feeling of competition creeps in to their young minds and it is natural that young blood refuses to accept failure, at all.
So it is this drive that (though some of us can do without it) keeps us going right throughout our lives looking for that winning edge in whatever we do.
Though we strive hard to out-do our classmates at various exams as students, it seems an absurdity to carry on with that notion through our adult lives as well. It is best to do things to the best of our ability than carrying on a competition with our colleagues around us.
But what is happening today is that people are either following on a path of sheer cut-throat competition to reach their goals or try to follow on the same lines as the ones who are already excelling in the same field as them.
Both these methods are not going to get one any further than where he is, because by trying to destabilise somebody else's success, their is no assurance that you are going to shine in his place, unless you can do better than him.
By trying to copy and tread along the same lines as the one who is already there, you are not going to impress anyone because managements don't look for replacements when it comes to promotions, they look for better performance.
Sometimes one finds that in most competitive surroundings, other than in fierce sports; so many other attributes go into making the winning position that is on offer, as in contemporary international beauty pageants.
In the past what it took mostly was a beautiful face and a body to match. But as they advanced, beauty pageants became more demanding. It laid down a series of mini titles to bring out other attributes of contestants besides beauty.
Well-mannered attitudes and personal deportment, artistic and creative talents and the kind of broader view that they see in life, Their attitude towards other fellow contestants and the good they intend to part with if they win the crown are some of the matters that are taken into count today if contestants are to win a pageant.
So it is proving that they are not only judging the outer charm that is plainly visible but they are also analyzing the inner goodness too of whom they think fit to carry the crowning glory of friendship, peace and goodwill to the world.
So even if we strive and appear to work hard in the eyes of our managerial higher-ups, the goodness that we dispose of in our daily lives can also play a major bit when it comes to the crunch of things. As in the case of Aruna and Anil.
They both worked as executives and were on line for the same job promotion in the near future. Aruna was the workaholic, never giving up always on the move to gather new techniques to further his knowledge in his field of work.
In fact everyone in office saw how capable he was and hard he strived to perfect his subject, working late, not socialising. In fact he was more in office than at home.
All this made young Aruna always busy thinking to himself, he hardly had time for others, which meant that he hardly had time to even listen to others and follow-up with a bout of good conversation at least.
But Anil was the opposite, though he knew how important that promotion is for him and his family, he just continued attending to the need of the day, being always the one to deliver to his boss what he asked for on time.
Anil was also of a pleasant nature and was on good terms with most of his colleagues, saving his time to face the day as it came rather than spend hours on end striving to possess something that is still yet to come.
But he attended to his work with punctuation and perfection, only giving it what it will call for on a daily basis and what will eventually matter to his management.
In the end the latter won the race, as the management found that he can deliver the goods rather than have someone like Aruna who was only visually impressive but lacked the practical sense to deliver what his management demanded of his job on a daily basis.
So this is one small incident that bases evidence against the fact of striving and killing one's self to get to the top. It also proves that it does not necessarily enable one to get there.
Competition can look good on you as long as you are young enough to wear it. But as one matures there are a lot of factors that can come into play, as in case of being pushed towards to face different challenges. It should be with an open mind and an approach that does not make us look immature that we should make our moves.
If we are old enough to make room for others who are younger to us or more capable than us then it should be done humbly and readily.
Sometimes one can see in the arena of sports many leading star athletes and sportsmen who have got up there and are thriving in shining armour for their ability and talent.
But as one gets to know these people better, one realises that these people have not got there all by blood and brawn alone. There is a major humane side to their success story. Those are the very same qualities that will also help them to sustain their stardom.
When one makes headway in life it is important to remember certain finer things that will enhance those achievements. As much as we strive to steer ahead by mastering the technical side of the field that we are working in, we must also look at other aspects, like certain religious values that we believe in and social disciplines that we have to adhere to.
Our onward march towards our goals should be based on our own merits and not by hindering somebody else's journey ahead. It is also important that the best shots are given towards the purpose of winning over ones aspirations and not sitting idle being jealous of another's success.
Once you are at the top it will serve well to remember one's peers and superiors that helped one to achieve those goals.
Do not ever harbour old grudges, avoid the motive 'Help ONLY the one that has helped you.' Try to dispense favours to anybody and everybody in need of them, within your purview.
Live surrounded by a feeling of general well-being, not only for your self but also for others and foster good will around you. Though they may not be features that can make you achieve a winning position all by themselves, they can weigh hard upon in its favour.
There are times we have read about international personalities, be it an actor, singer or sportsman and how they have lived isolated lives. Winning, instead of bringing them closer to their families have driven them apart.
There is a story of a leading soccer player who divorced and lost his children in the process. He was later charged for possessing drugs and having brawls at night clubs.
His younger days were spent practising and striving to become one of the greatest soccer players and he achieved it. But at what cost? At the cost of losing his family and probably old friends.
At the end of his career the well-known soccer star of yesteryear breath his last sans his family beside him in a clinic far away from home. So is this the success that we want to achieve?
An up and coming actor who went begging for a role from one film directors home to the other lived his youth with the support of his girlfriend who was only a stewardess in a restaurant. As times went by his good looks and charisma made him one of the most well-known and richest actors. Later he married his girlfriend and had three children.
As his super-stardom boomed he fell in love with a sprightly newcomer and left his family to marry her. The marriage did not last too long. Not being able to stand the young actresses betrayal and the embarrassment he had to face the actor became a habitual alcoholic.
Struck by loneliness and rejection he suffered a major stroke and suffered for over six years before he was struck with a second stroke to which he succumbed.
He ended his life in the most pathetic manner that he would never have anticipated when he set upon the journey to stardom. Can we analyze this as success?
Then this final example of the little girl who was fiercely oriented towards being trained as a soprano by her mother. All her young life was spent on training her voice for the job which ultimately landed her in the highest position as an opera star.
But she grew a resentment towards her family when they sought financial help from her, while she was reigning in the position of the highest paid opera star.
As a result she severed all ties with her family compelling her mother to seek work as a nanny to a wealthy family to make ends meet. In later years after many scandalous liaisons the singer ended her life by committing suicide of an overdose of tranquillisers. Was this the winning edge that she was seeking all her youth?
They are vivid and numerous, the many people who were driven by this obsession to win, their triumphant moment of achievement and their inability to share the joy with their loved ones.
It is dangerous to blind your eyes with success and power, arrogance will only get you down.
It is our duty to encourage our youth to strive and win at all cost. It is as important that they learn to achieve these goals, as stated earlier in this article, at the expense of their own ability and hard work sans jealousy and hatred. They must be thought to share their success with their family and friends.
People who do not adhere to these rules too can win. They may also enjoy their success all by themselves sans friends and family, turning a blind eye to the needs of others and taking revenge from anybody who have failed them while they were struggling to achieve what they have.
But what they should realize is that at the end of it all they would eventually end up having a throne to sit on and a crown to wear, but without a kingdom to rule.
Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.
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