Distinctive thoughts on collaboration and competition

Tshogofatso Brigette Lope argues that collaboration can be successful if students are taught the necessary skills early on. She further discusses how competing with oneself can be a good motivator to achieve one’s goals.

Illustration by Nino Mekanarishvili

According to Google, collaboration is the action of working with someone or a group of people to achieve a common objective. Collaboration is a good thing, but not always effective. Preference of collaboration is based on personal experience and the activity which you have to do. It might take two hours to do a certain task in collaboration and only an hour to do the task individually. I think sometimes we lack collaboration skills and discipline and that is why we are not in favor of doing it. Some people are social people and would prefer to divert a work session into a conversation when in a group and normally prefer to work individually to complete a task. Whereas others are work-focused, either individually or in a collaboration, and would focus on getting the work done and reaching the group goal or target.

Illustration by Mieke Verster

Most of the time when children collaborate, one person would complete the whole group’s work, which may affect how we collaborate when we grow up. We are unsure of disciplinary measures in the group to avoid diverting a group work session into a discussion and we are unable to assign each individual a section of the work. In a collaboration there is a lot we can accomplish and learn, especially when we are studying. Collaborating can divide the work and multiply success. However, due to lack of self-discipline, collaboration skills, focus, and shared goals, collaboration may seem hopeless and difficult to accomplish. I believe collaboration can be a success if students are taught how collaboration should work from early childhood, collaborating with people with the same objective as you, prioritizing discipline, and knowing exactly what impact you make in the group.

According to Google, competition is the activity of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others. I don’t believe in competition, but setting a goal or target for myself even though what I’m challenging myself to do is under the name of competition. The reason behind this is because it allows me to do self-review and check my progress rather than having to compare myself with others. Another reason, is that it spares me the disappointment and feelings of depression of having lost the competition, but it also allows me to work even harder to reach my goal when given another chance.

Illustration by Nino Mekanarishvili

I am aware that we live in a space where competition is a key factor in determining potential. But, at the same time, I feel that competition can negatively affect one’s self esteem and lead to anxiety and depression especially when feelings are attached to the competition. It can even destroy friendships. Healthy competitions may unlock potential and open doors of success for other people, whereas unhealthy competitions may destroy and leave a person with a bitter heart. I taught myself to be my own competitor and set goals for myself. Goals that motivate me to work hard and strive to achieve them no matter how hard it seems. My motto is that nothing is impossible and everyone can reach their goals and full potential only if they compete with themselves. You can never measure your potential and success by competing with others.

Tshogofatso Brigette Lope

Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Student,
STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY

"I am down to earth person, with lots of determination and ambition but one word to describe me would be a Philomath"

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