Regarding Reverse Competition

Lately in queries and interviews, and particularly within a small group of responses to Drawing Out The Dragons, I’ve been seeing a great deal of Reverse Competition invoked. Everyone knows about the parables of the lobsters in the bucket, clawing to pull each other down, or the tall poppies in the field being cut down when they grow taller than the rest of the field as examples of how some people will try to pull people down because they worry that others may outshine them. Reverse Competition is the opposite: it’s trying to prevent people from being motivated to try for excellence not because they think those people will achieve it, but precisely because they don’t.

I wrote a variation on this theme a couple of weeks ago, and I’m reiterating it here because it’s becoming more significant to me to underline the point that no one can decide what is significant to you except yourself. No one. And no one else can tell you what you are capable of and make it stick unless you choose to believe what they say.

I had an exchange yesterday about my Meditation on Winning, and a friend suggested that maybe the journey itself is winning. I think that’s true if that goal is in alignment with your personal truths, your most profound hopes, your deepest desires, and your unwavering pursuit of it.

The journey itself may indeed be the greatest goal someone can choose to pursue; and if they do, then winning means never being shamed, or coerced, or otherwise led away from that path.

Reverse Competition is suggesting that you shouldn’t encourage people to even attempt things that they may seem completely incapable of doing, and I don’t think there’s any point to that, at all. The ones who are unprepared for the work that may be needed or are simply lazy will fall away from the path on their own; still, I would continue to encourage them and try to advise them on how to better improve what they are trying — although their own actions would not inspire much more direct help than that.

For those persons who seemingly may have no talent for what they have chosen to try, but whom have clear eyes, willing hearts, remarkable work ethics, and an unbeatable spirit to keep trying — to those, I would not only offer encouragement and advice, but every resource I could muster to help them along their path. It may take a long time to reach their goals. And in truth, they may never reach them. It happens. But at the end of it all, would you rather spend your life encouraging and trying to lift up others to strive for their dreams, or would you rather spend it becoming a gatekeeper to everyone you meet whose experience and choices do not exactly mirror your own?

And if you’re walking a difficult road, which of those would you hope walked beside you?

Only you can answer those questions — and when you do, you’ll have defined your reality.


About caveo

James has written and illustrated six books in the bestselling series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: Here, There Be Dragons; The Search For The Red Dragon; The Indigo King; The Shadow Dragons; The Dragon’s Apprentice; and The Dragons of Winter. The series is now being published in more than twenty languages. A seventh volume, The First Dragon, will conclude the series in November 2013.

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