I Surrender. I Don’t Want to Compete.

My college professors told me that life is a competition and if I don’t compete I don’t stand a chance. My parents told me the same thing.

At some point, I agree. After all I wouldn’t be here writing my opinion. I wouldn’t be here learning about writing or marketing so people can love my words, my blog, my identity.

Now I’m competing.

But then I realized, those who say life is a competition are the ones participating in the competition or starting the competition. And they make it incredibly alluring we can’t resist.

Self-improvement gurus would say, “Don’t compete with others. You’re in a competition with yourself.” Maybe yes. Or maybe no. I don’t get it. How could I compete with my own self? Fuck that.

Now you might ask, how can we grow our company if we don’t compete? How can we achieve success or greatness? How can we earn money?

Oh, maybe I was wrong. Maybe we really need to compete. Because maybe that’s the only way.

One day, my friend Myk told me that we need not to compete in order to grow: “See the plants? They still grow even without competition. They just grow naturally.”

Maybe he’s right. There’s no competition (unless that’s a sport). We can grow and we can achieve success or greatness or earn profit without competing. And there’s enough to go around.

How can we do it?

Focus on helping people and providing value.

If you own a company, focus on helping your customers. If they switch to another company, maybe Company B offers better services or products. And that’s great. After all, you’re doing business to better the lives of people, not to compete with other companies. There’s a huge difference between making money from competing and making money from helping and providing value. In my experience, it makes me feel good inside if I don’t compete.

If you’re an employee, be indispensable. Learn new things that can help grow your company and apply those things to your work. Then share it with your boss and coworkers. Your goal is to progress the company and solve recurring problems. If they don’t listen, then build your own company on the side. Or maybe quit and find a new job. But don’t compete with them.

If you’re an aspiring artist, give your art for free. Why not? This disseminates your art to a larger audience (people love to share). And who knows, it may lead to more opportunities. Instead of competing with other artists, help spread their art too. You are not enemies. You are friends. And friends always win. Note: If you’re a pro and has been making profit from your art, that’s great. Keep making good art.

I know I could not completely change the business world or any creative industry. There are people who love competition and make competitions. Some of them I respect and admire. But honestly, I don’t feel happy competing.

We can choose not to join. We can choose to focus on improving ourselves, making a difference, and providing value.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we can do our own thing without the drive to compete? Without treating others as competitors? Without the desire to be the best of all the best and the best and the best?

Maybe someday I would be tempted to compete with other writers and musicians. Or maybe I’d start my own business and compete. Ha! I don’t know. I hope I won’t do it.

But for now, I surrender.

I want to live life and focus on my why.

That’s all that matters.

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Jade Panugan

I follow my curiosity and write to understand. I love to cultivate my passions, craft new ideas, nurture wisdom, and learn more about life. I believe we're here not just to pursue our desires, but also, seek understanding, help each other, and make a difference. If there's anything you want to discuss or share, contact me.