Any balanced discussion concerning competition must include a borderline activity that looks and feels like competition while it really is not. The reason for this is that the individual participating is not giving or receiving resistance from each other.
They are individually free to perform a task or skill where they are really only aiming for a better performance than before. It is an act of stretching. There are a lot of positive things to say about this “shadow-land” where competition is the name of the game but performers are not going against each other during their performance.
It is fully possible to attain those extraordinary zones of human performance within this zone of competition. I think that the film in the link above demonstrates this very clearly. There are however some aspects to this zone that carry with them a lot of the destructive aspects associated with competition as a phenomenon.
One of these aspects is the motivation to participate. If there is a passion to perform at any skill level and the opportunity is provided in a competition, it can be perceived as a means to an end. The response or result would be less important than the act of putting your best efforts into what ever you want to do. A talent competition, individual sports performances, music contests, etc. all provide this kind of opportunity. The rewards can finance the training and the ability to focus on mastery of any passionate activity for self-realization at some level.
Because any competitive environment is what it is, only one can win and if that part of the aspect becomes so important that it involves making it difficult for others to do their best – then you see the influence of the competitive attitude generalizing and compartmentalizing self from others.
I have seen many people become so infected with the idea of competition within the context of self-realization that it loses any aspect of being motivated or driven from the inside-out.
The Extended Self-Actualization Pyramid
The best way I know of how to explain the finer distinctions of the point I am trying to make clear is with the pyramid of human needs that Maslow created, and that I have extended through working with NLP.
The environment of competition for survival needs, security, boundaries and social belonging can be so extreme that you are not able to extend your efforts past struggling to get by. There are billions of people on the planet that live their lives focusing on resolving these issues.
Those that have managed to navigate through this competitive mine field and enter the realm of social recognition are still dealing with all the negative aspects of competition. This zone of human evolution is rife with deadly external and internal conflicts. Throughout all of these zones of human needs, it is also possible to learn to navigate through these external needs by avoiding internal and external competition.
As such, you will have some individuals that are socially accepted to be in the zone of excellent performances that have an attitude of serving self interests at others expense. You will also see people in the same environment that find it better to serve others and self without creating harm to others. You will never know the difference until you see how they relate to other people and how they treat their environment.
The inside-out principle
Living from the inside-out can be done in several different ways. Only one of these paths leads to real self-realization and learning through pleasure and not pain. Consider that there are two different sets of emotions that motivate us to act and respond to the environment. One is emotion based on fear. The other is based on love.
The fear-based emotions are often camouflaged. They present themselves to us as values in our lives. In this case they are extremely important values. They present themselves in the following forms:
- Safety – Fear of accidents, losing control
- Concern for others – Fear and lack of trust in other people
- Power – Fear of losing influence over others, fear of vulnerability
- Money – Fear of scarcity, Lack of self-esteem
- Authority – Lack of self-esteem, fear of vulnerability
- Strength – Fear of losing, fear of vulnerability
- Appearances – Fear of ridicule, Fear of Age, Fear of social judgment
- Reputation – Fear of social judgment, ridicule
- Honor – Externalized integrity, hidden as reputation and appearances, strength or authority
- Pride – Fear of vulnerability
- Cleanliness – Fear of disease, germs, bacteria, environment
- Neatness-Organization – Fear of lack of oversight, lack of control, lack of predictability
And any value that is strongly avoided like:
- Conflict – Fear of conflicts helps problems get worse
- Poverty – Fear of poverty keeps you preoccupied visualizing future failure and manifesting that
- Loneliness – Fear of being alone keeps you from appreciating who you really are.
- Fear – Fear of fear is the ultimate fear
- Disease – Preoccupied with moving away from disease, you will never get to vitality
- Accidents – Make sure you never make mistakes or accidents because you might just learn something in your life. Fear of learning is a life in stagnation.
- Mistakes – Same as accidents
- Change – The illusion of stability in the universe means you are in conflict with the universe because everything is spinning, rotating and vibrating energy always changing. You set yourself up to be the ultimate loser.
- Anger – Fear of anger has robbed you of your own external defense mechanisms and that is a valuable resource. You must love to be used as a door-mat.
- Violence – You exist in the zone of survival that has your life on lock-down. There is nothing happening except your defense mechanisms on full alert all the time.
What fear-based emotions do with you
As your life unfolds and you attempt to move through the different levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, you will find very many people still living from the out-side in – driven by fear of some sort – in part or in whole, to be and do what they do in life.
To illustrate this concept a little more clearly, I will relate to my past as an advertising photographer working with high-end, national advertising. By the time I had a Golden Clio Award from the International Advertising awards in New York – I really imagined that I was well into self-realization. I was really only fooling myself. My motivation for working in advertising was due to my fear of not being able to support myself as an artist. I was compromising a higher desire out of fear.
There is a very fine line that distinguishes whether or not you are in external social approval or the zone of self-realization. That is the extent of your ability and willingness to listen to and be loyal to your “higher emotional center”.
Your Higher Emotions are not centered in your gut, where all your fear based emotions live. Your higher emotions are centered in your heart – literally speaking. Your heart, it has been discovered, has the highest magnetic signature of any other organ in the body – including the brain.
It is said that the longest journey a person ever makes is the one of moving from your head to your heart. The same can be said about moving from your gut, to your heart. Many patients that have experienced heart-transplants have also experienced different tastes in food and other things – showing that the heart is the source of your “desires” and natural developing drives and passion.
Your heart tells you what you are able to stretch yourself out to. Children and adults of all ages experience these emotions. If you listen to your heart – you will have focus on what is important for you from the inside out. Your heart connection is also the source of your intuitions that really guide you in your life. Ultimately, you will discover that it is your heart that is also the connection to your Higher Self.
Competition starts to fall away
Fear is ultimately a by-product of the paradigm of competition. It does not belong to the Spirit of Vitality. Competition brings with it fear of punishment, death, loss, mistakes, accidents, and a general movement away from something without any consideration for the direction forward. Anything is better than confronting the fear.
Fear keeps us from searching for the truth about ourselves. That, in turn, keeps us ignorant about the most important and neglected resources you could ever dream of. It keeps you in lock-down where your performance in life will never truly be what it could be.
The more you stretch out to those resources, the less dominated with fear, you will become. This is because you become committed to your higher-self leadership to help you be all that you can be. You bring spiritual “magic” into your life. In order to stay in that zone, you will be searching to avoid competition every step of the way. In order to do so, you will have to move into the direction of self-dependency and self-sustainability.
You will quickly discover that our present social structures are designed to create dependency. It is actually demanded in many nations that your house is hooked up to the network of electricity, water and sewer systems in order to be declared legal to live in. Being energy dependent creates food dependency and material dependency and the network of dependency grows from there. This dependency is what runs the artificial economy. It keeps humanity in the competition game.
Why self sufficiency is so important for vitality
Your ability to serve your own self interests without being a burden to others is completely dependent on your independent access to the necessary resources and infrastructures you need without having to bother other people. The more independent you become, the more you discover abilities to help other people that are reaching toward the same goal – true self-realization.
It’s never an egotistic issue when you live from the inside out, centered in your heart. This is where unity awareness resides. You realize quickly that without vitality being shared, it is really a very delicate thing. You will do your best to make it strong in others and your environment as well.