Rethinking the Human “Race”

Years ago, when I was in my second year of teaching, a colleague told one of my students, in an IEP meeting, “You know, it’s called the human RACE for a reason.”

I chuckled, which earned me dirty look, as this well-meaning teacher went on to explain to the young lady that it’s a world where you eat or be eaten, and she will have to work harder, in order to have a place.

The student went on to do well, but what the teacher said never sat right with me.

Another case in point. Looking at a site with stats on my blog, it listed my largest “competitors.” Competitors? Seriously? As if one of us gets a trophy for having the most readers?

Clearly, the designer of that site didn’t get it.

Let’s take look at your typical foot race. Yeah, it’s pretty competitive for the top places. But you don’t have to go much further back, and the goal is no longer to beat out the other runners, it’s to beat your personal record. For some, it’s just to finish the race. And it doesn’t hurt you at all if the other runners beat their personal records as well. In fact, you will celebrate with them if they do. You will encourage those who are thinking about quitting the race.

Everyone who finishes the marathon, or half-marathon, gets the sticker for their car. It doesn’t matter where they placed.

If we’re living our lives trying to crush others in order to get ahead, we’re missing the point. If we’re living for nothing but personal gain, our time here is meaningless. We will accomplish nothing lasting.

If we want to change the world, we can do it. We can leave our mark, do something that matters, that lasts. But we can’t do it alone. One person is like a mere length of string, easily broken under strain, easily snapped. But woven together, the many lengths of string form an unbreakable rope.

We need each other. We need to re-establish community and build each other up. Together, we can bring an end to the mindset that the world is cutthroat place, without enough good to go around. Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

Note: Please take a look at yesterday’s post, if you haven’t already. There is still room for you to join our weight loss group, if you are interested! We will get that going by the end of the week.

8 thoughts on “Rethinking the Human “Race”

  1. We see this competitiveness so much on a daily basis in the UK. I think if we all slowed down and had more consideration for each other and our differences then life would feel less pressured. I guess it’s about practising this in your own life: letting others “win”, putting others needs before our own and accepting everybody has limitations.

  2. In a professional sport like football, basketball, etc… we have a few winners and a LARGE number of ‘loosers’. While this may be perfectly acceptable in that environment, I’ve often wondered why we accept these sort of results in our society? If a church, a social club, or any similar type organization had only a couple of people that benefited and the rest suffered great loss would that be considered a successful organization? We really need to look at modern society and question the fact that a hand full of people succeed and the rest ‘fail’. I am not talking about socialism, communism, or any isms. Those don’t seem to work either. I just think we need to look hard at our systems that are producing so many unhappy and so many mentally ill and so much poverty and so much sickness. I wouldn’t call it success.
    Dan @ ZenPresence.com

    • Wow, you could totally get me on a rant here. This is my third erase and restart…LOL…What it comes down to is that we need to forget greed, remember our humanity, and start caring for one another.

  3. Dan and Dolly said it so well, I thought I would give another perspective to this. My two oldest grand children are each 4, and they love racing each other and others. They just love to run and racing is something that involves running, but when I say they race, their races are a new one to me. Which ever one gets in the lead will at one point stop and wait for the other to catch up, then tell them it’s their turn to win. When I had a child visiting who was a little younger than them and couldn’t run as fast, the three children held hands and “raced” together. We need to continue to embrace those moments when we see children sharing the wins and encourage more of those experiences to have a lasting effect as they get older, maybe with learned empathy we can see a better world.

    • Kids do seem to look out for each other, and understand differences. I think adults tend to nurture the kids’ competitive sides. I know my 5-year-old has a lot of natural empathy and compassion (and people used to believe that kids with autism didn’t have the capacity for such things…but that’s another story…). We just need to nurture the right qualities, in our children.

  4. Ah, my Achilles heel, I have a competitive nature. I like to think it hearkens back to a time when our race needed to compete for precious resources to keep their blood line going, not just that I’m a bit over the top Having said that, I really do think life should be a series of wins for all of us. I just sometimes have to remind myself of that. Your post is a good one, I should bookmark it. By the way, you comment form hates me, it doesn’t always seem to “accept” them.

    • There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, as long as it stays friendly!
      Oh, and leave the e-mail field blank on the comment form. That should make it work better. I’m in the process of switching to WordPress (it’s been a slow, glitchy process), so that should eventually fix a lot of issues.

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