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Competition: Good or Bad?

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Competition is something that everyone has in his or her life. When you are young and still studying in school, you would compete with your classmates for better grades, when you get older and go to work, you would compete with your colleagues so as to please the boss more with your work and get a promotion to a higher position with better salary. Companies compete with each other to get more customers and slowly expand their business. Countries compete with each other for a better economy. Even animals and plants compete with each other. The plants compete with each other to as to get more water, sunlight and nutrients, while the animals in the wild challenge each other for survival and mating. So, competition is part of everyday life, but is it really a good thing?

The cause of having competition between people is that people like to prove to themselves or other people that they are actually better than the other person. People compete with each other so as to win, and winning brings benefits to the victor. Some people compete to make their views heard, like when in political elections. The representatives debate with each other and try their best to convince the public to vote for them.

People not only compete with others but with themselves too. Some people do not concentrate on beating their peers but instead, they concentrate on competing with themselves. They keep trying to do better than they did previously, therefore these people are not under as much stress as the people who compete with the society. People who compete with themselves get to set their own goals and learn or work a their own pace, and as such there is not so much strain.

Competition causes good stress. This type of stress from competition makes people strive to be better than their rivals. The stress drives people to work harder and go the extra mile to improve, making the society and country move forward and not lag behind others. Without this sort of stress, people improve much slower, and so, even if one does continue to keep improving, they will still end up being left behind.

Now, the competition is getting more intense in Singapore. There is more and more foreign talent coming to Singapore and so if Singaporeans do not start working harder, all the jobs in Singapore will end up going to the foreigners and Singapore will lose out. Introducing more foreign talent to Singapore will make Singaporeans have the drive to work harder if they do not want to be sacked or retrenched by their companies to be replaced by foreigners. Having more foreign talents in Singapore will help our economy and society develop faster and hence Singapore will not fall behind the rest of the world.

There are also examples of healthy competition in the Olympics. One of the most important things in the Olympic games is good sportsmanship between opponents. This means having respect for your rivals, fair play, courtesy, a striving spirit and grace in losing. All these are what all competitors should have when competing, as these are values of competition. Sports teach many good virtues that everyone should know and follow as this is what the human spirit is about.

Of course, nothing in this world is perfect with all benefits and no disadvantages, and competition is no exception. Competition not only causes good stress but bad stress as well. The bad stress is due to people being under too much pressure, possibly from losing out to others. The higher the competitiveness of a situation, the more pressure there is on the competitors. When there is too much pressure on a person from failure, he or she might feel that they are inferior and slowly they start feeling depressed. In some severe cases, the person might even start suffering from depression. These people will then consequently not feel like striving to be better and continuing to compete, becoming the outcastes of the society.

Competition often generates internal social conflict, so even when you have succeeded in beating your rivals, there will always be a detractor who does not want to see the good work that you have achieved and instead hurl insults and baseless accusations at you. This is the sad but true reality in life that no one can escape. Because of this, friends may sometimes become unhappy with each other because of the competition between them.

There is also the issue of having too much competition. An example for that would be World War Two. In World War Two, Japan wanted to become the most powerful country in the world. It tried to conquer all the other countries around it and in the process many innocent lives were lost. They attacked China, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, United States of America and many other countries. The Japanese soldiers attacked mercilessly and spared no one, thus many died just because of competition. Also, there was an armed race in Europe as many countries tried to compete with each other to make stronger weapons that were more destructive. In this war that was caused by competition, many lives were wasted away, showing the fearsome strength of a competition that was too intense.

Sometimes, competition brings out the ugly behaviour in people. Some people become so used to the taste of sweet victory that they would do anything to continue their winning streak. These people who are obsessed with success tend to end up using despicable methods of competition. Some of the methods are occasionally seen in sports and games. The competitors will cheat by taking drugs like steroids, causing them to be stronger and faster than they really are.

Another way of cheating in competitions in by bribing the judges so that they will give a higher or lower mark to a certain person. The bribers just think that money can solve all their problems, but even if the person that they want to win does win, it does not mean that he or she is the true victor. The victory was bought using money and so it is actually not worth anything at all.

All in all, competition is both good and bad. When competition is managed properly, it is good as it drives people to strive to be better and shows the human spirit, but when competition gets out of hand, in serious cases like war, many lives may be lost. So, competition is only good when it is managed well.

There is an alternative for competition, but it is not a good one. The alternative for competition would be to have no competition at all. This
would mean going back to how we were in the past, when people only cared about planting crops and rearing animals so as to have enough food for the family. If this were true, then man would have kept on staying that way without any new inventions or discoveries, meaning that man will not move forward and improve like the way that we are doing now. So, it would be better if we were the way we are right now, without any changes to the way we are living.

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