The Curse of Constant Competitions
Written By: Lunar Butterfly
Do my friend Lavena’s friends not like me or do I just think everyone hates me? That’s what I thought when I met my friend Lavena’s friends for the first time. I sensed they didn’t like me, but in the spirit of being more open minded I talked to them anyway.
They were standoffish with me and I felt a real “ugh this again” sigh creep up. Lavena’s friends don’t like me just like I thought, but how could they not like me when we just met and I tried to engage in friendly conversation with them. I’ve become friends with many of the people who I thought were standoffish with me when we first met, and they voluntarily told me they thought I would be mean. I asked them why and all their replies had the same gist: because they thought I was pretty. I got upset when I found out they thought I would be mean, but then I realized I did the same thing with them.
Sometimes when I first meet people that are good looking in my opinion, I assume they’ll be mean or not like me just because they’re good looking, yet I get upset when other people assume I’ll be mean or won’t like them because they think I’m good looking. My friend Lavena’s friends and I both judged each other based on appearance first, yet don’t like the idea of the other judging them based on appearance. Both parties reveal inconsistencies in their beliefs on how they should be treated compared to how they treat the other person. So instead of judging the people I meet or assuming they are judging me, I have to consider how I want to be treated. I would want them to not assume anything and keep an open mind about me, so I keep an open mind about the people I meet and don’t assume things about them.
No matter how they act in the beginning they eventually come around. A lot of them judge other people and don’t even realize that’s what they’re doing, but after I’m nice to them they eventually start being nice. It would be weird for them to continue to act unwelcomed after I’ve already welcomed them. Oftentimes it is because they still think I’m judging them or they have entered us both into this competition of who is better looking or smarter or more talented, without my knowledge. They unnecessarily think we’re competing to see who has the most knowledge, money, friends, talents, or accomplishments as if more than one person cannot simultaneously have those traits. As if there’s only a limited amount of knowledge, talents, friends, or money to go around. Someone else’s knowledge on a topic, talent, or friends cannot take away from someone else’s because there is not limited knowledge or talent or friendship to go around.
Everyone is searching for something in life and people searching for something similar can help each other. I find it weird when people try to prove they are smarter or think they are better because they have knowledge the other person does not. Why wouldn’t everyone want the people they were surrounded with to be just as smart as they were? A truly smart person would want to be surrounded by educated people and if they are not educated they would share knowledge to help educate them. It does not make sense to belittle people for not already knowing.
An intelligent person would be open to gaining knowledge from others because that’s the best way to become more intelligent. Smart and intelligent people realize that there is no way to know everything, so the quest for knowledge is ongoing. In the quest for knowledge it is impossible not to research other people’s work or consult people in that field of study. Claiming to be smart but not accepting any new information is like a detective trying to solve a case without ever accepting any witness statements or new leads. Speaking to anyone with any information is crucial to every investigative case in order to move forward. It’s the same with intelligence, in order to maintain intelligence, there must be a persistent intake of information because intelligence is an ongoing investigation.
Even after a detective has figured out a case they still accept new information regarding the case because just because they think they have it all figured out there could always be information that has not been uncovered. It is the same with being intelligent in any field. There could be information that hasn’t been uncovered. In science some of the most intelligent people are finding out that they were wrong or that scientific principles are not what they thought they were, so even the most intelligent people change their minds when new information is presented. Sometimes it is not necessary to even change one’s mind. It is possible to believe the old information and take the new information and regard both pieces of information as true.
Trying to constantly prove to be better than other people around you is asking to be surrounded by unskilled people. Like a detective asking for a bad detective to be on the case with them because they want to look smarter. Maybe they look smarter, but it will also take longer and be more difficult to solve the case. Even if the detective is fine with a longer or more difficult case it is not just about the detective. It is about the people the detective is solving the case for who got hurt and the people who could be hurt if the case is not solved. Instead of the detective trying to prove their smartness to each other they could combine their smartness because they would solve the case faster and more intelligently together.