Tuesday, 05 December 2023

Linda-maree Conyard

Competition is well known to us all and is a double-edged sword that can spur growth but more often sows seeds of disharmony, dissatisfaction and disturbance within. It inhibits collaboration and breeds feelings of inadequacy, not enoughness and lack.

This edition of Trauma Bytes ventures into the domain of competition, unravelling its impact on our lives and revealing how mindfulness practices can redirect our focus towards cooperation and abundance, increasing the feeling of support and inner fulfilment.

While built on the energy of having to win and can bring out inner forces that may not always be available, competition often brings forth negative emotions and inhibits collaboration. In this edition of Trauma Bytes, we'll explore:

  • The Pitfalls of Competition;
  • The Coexistence of Cooperation; and
  • Mindfulness Practice

Competition can be motivating and can trigger negative emotions like envy and feelings of inadequacy, inhibiting collaboration and support.

1. The Pitfalls of Competition

Competitiveness can trigger feelings of inadequacy, envy, and scarcity, hindering our connection with who we really are.

Can you recall the first time you experienced competition? Mine was when I started school. The whole system is based on competition, and who gets the best mark is the best student. The trouble with this is that often, not all learning styles are considered. So, very creative children may be feeling dumb because the way they shine is not included in the way children are taught or compared.

I am remembering when I was in the RAAF and had completed my rookie training and commenced training for my mustering as a communications operator. We did theory first, and I was convinced I would fail the test. They could have been speaking a different language because that's about how much I understood what was being said. Before sitting the test, we had to use the equipment with what we learned from the theory.

OMG, once I physically did that process, I could feel my brain clicking in all the information that I didn't understand previously. I learnt something very important for the rest of my life that day. I wasn't dumb; I just needed to physically do things to get it. I now know that I am a kinesthetic learner. Why, oh, why don't we get to know this when we are young? That would have saved me a lot of years thinking I was stupid! And how I learn is equally valid as other ways of learning.

Competition is a driving force in our achievement-oriented society and can be a catalyst for growth and innovation. Yet, when wielded as a measuring stick for success, it breeds a toxic landscape of comparison, envy, and feelings of inadequacy. The pursuit of outdoing others blinds us to the vast opportunities for collaboration and support and even celebrating the success of others. It closes the doors to cooperation and shared success. It supports a very egoic society - It's I instead of we.
2. The Coexistence of Cooperation

Shifting from a competitive mindset to one of cooperation opens space for healthier experiences that can provide us with a sense of being supported and supporting others. This would fundamentally change how we perceive success and our place within the world.

Embracing mindfulness is the catalyst for this shift, allowing us to unlock a mindset that views life as abundant rather than scarce. It's about recognising that success is not a limited commodity but rather an expansive space where everyone can flourish—knowing that there is enough for each and every one of us.

This shift from scarcity to abundance thinking is transformative. It frees us from the shackles of comparison, envy and all the other negative feelings that come from the small thinking that there is not enough for everyone.

Rather than seeing success as one's gain is another's loss, an abundant mindset understands that there's room for everyone to thrive. It's akin to realising that the universe has inexhaustible opportunities for growth, achievements, and fulfilment.

Celebrating others' accomplishments becomes natural and empowering when we adopt an abundance mindset. We no longer feel threatened or diminished by their success. Instead, we find inspiration in their achievements, understanding that their success doesn't detract from our growth potential. In fact, their success can serve as a beacon, illuminating possibilities and paving the way for our aspirations.

Inspiration is a keyword that could potentially replace competition. Can you imagine a world that was based on inspiration, cooperation, and acknowledgement of others' success?

This shift in perspective also allows us to embrace cooperation wholeheartedly. Instead of competing against others, we recognise the value of collaboration and mutual support. We understand that working together can achieve far more than we ever could alone. Cooperation becomes a means to amplify collective success, fostering an environment where everyone's contributions are valued and recognised.

3. Mindfulness Practices

In essence, embracing an abundance mindset through mindfulness liberates us from the confines of scarcity and cultivates a mindset of inclusivity, support, and growth. It enables us to build a more collaborative and enriching community where success is not a limited commodity but an expansive horizon where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Some examples of mindfulness practices that would support a mindset tailored to abundance, cooperation, and harmony are:

  • ​Loving-kindness meditation - I have created this for you to practise. You can do this at any time and it can be especially good when you are triggered by something.
  • Gratitude practice - At any time you can take a moment especially when you are enjoying something you are doing and say to yourself - I love it when …
  • ​It may be something like this; I love it when I am in my garden or I love it when I am sitting with a cup of tea in the sunshine.​
  • ​Perspective checking exercises - Anais Nin said "We don't see things as they are we see them as we are." You can try this when you are in a situation where you are working on an area in your life that you want to change. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Am I seeing this situation as it is, or am I seeing it through my own creatively adjusted self lenses?
  • Is there another way I could see this situation?
  • What would it look like from the other person's perspective?
  • Do I see this situation coming up time and time again?
  • Is there a new way of seeing this situation?

These practices cultivate empathy, allowing us to recognise the value of cooperation and support. They redirect our focus towards building connections and fostering a sense of community, where the success of others becomes an inspiration rather than a threat.

As you navigate the competition landscape, remember that understanding its pitfalls is critical for a mindset shift. May this week's Trauma Bytes guide you on the transformative path towards embracing collaboration and abundance over competitiveness.

If you try out any offered practices, I’d love to hear how you found them and what you now understand that you didn’t before.

May this week's Trauma Bytes guide you on the transformative path toward becoming kinder and gentler with yourself and realise there is more than enough for everyone in this world.

I love hearing from you and receiving your updates, so please keep them coming.

May you be well, may you be happy, and may you have inner peace.

Linda ♡

If you try out any offered practices, I’d love to hear how you found them and what you now understand that you didn’t before. I love, love, love hearing from you guys.

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