The Winner Takes It All

Triven Govender contends that the idea that competition improves the individual is false because winners are advantaged and ‘losers’ are disadvantaged.

Illustration by Nino Mekanarishvili

In today’s society, competition is a motive for individuals to grow and thrive in ‘being the best’ in whatever aspect the individual is participating in. It also has become a way of conceptualizing wealth and prosperity. However, I disagree with this norm. Competition is a very one-sided affair, in the sense that an individual only benefits from ‘winning’, while the ‘loser’ becomes emotionally despondent in working harder and learning from previous failures.

For example, in high school there is an award system based on competition. In a positive light, it is a way of driving the best academics or best sports persons to continue striving for excellence. However, the demotivation of those who work as hard, if not harder, heightens due to the lack of acknowledgement given to them. This can lead to continuous failure of the ‘loser’ and an unbalanced acknowledgement of the ‘winner’. In such a system of ‘losers’ and ‘a winner’, a division is created, and the ‘losers’ lose their motivation.

by Mieke Verster
Illustration by Mieke Verster

A person, thereafter, becomes more prone to valuing their achievements and goals on others. This in turn creates boundaries that stop a person from reaching their true potential. As Engineering students, we are continually encouraged to always help one another and not compete. By doing this the knowledge, partially attained in lectures, is solidified and thus creates group orientated engineers, who can solve problems accurately and timely. In my view, the opinion that competition improves one’s self is false. The reason being that competition is a ‘two-way street’ where there is a winner being advantaged and a loser being disadvantaged.

Triven Govender

First Year Engineering Student,

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