Competition vs Collaboration

Sun Feb 06 2022

As someone who has been in competitive environments for most of life - through means such as sports, school and work - I currently find myself at a fork in the roads on how I feel about competition. While competition can lead to positive outcomes such as individual/group growth and innovation, the downsides of competition are rather grim. Competition can lead to individuals developing bad habits such as backstabbing or putting others down for personal gain. It can also lead to burnout and depression.

Does that mean we should all work together and be one happy family? Well, that's a very wishful dream, but in actuality, collaboration does have its own set of caveats. Collaboration is about finding a middle ground to work at between individuals. If a system or framework is set up that doesn't reside in this middle ground, some of the individuals working together will be hindered by working with others. (Some advantages and disadvantages Cathy Middlecamp faced while teaching university Chemistry classes to nonmajors).

Individualism is a common trait in modern Western society and is bound to become more apparent as more accessible digital platforms allow people to add more complexity to their online identity configuration. That's why I hope that the future holds for more development in collaborative practices in future young generations. The seesaw that seats how we look at ourselves and how we contribute to benefit the rest of the world may soon tip heavily in favor of the former.