Competition and Cooperation

I don't play sports. I don't watch sports. I don't like that for one team to win, the other has to lose. I basically have a deep dislike for competition. I will admit to enjoying the challenge of a rousing game of dominoes with Rick, taking the luck of the draw and doing our best with it. But we'll play all evening and never keep score. For us, the fun is in the playing, not the winning. There's enough fun to go around, and we're good at sharing it.

Does anybody remember the New Games Book?
New Games Book
It came out in 1976, and is based on the theory that there's a lot of playful fun to be had, without any competition at all. Everyone plays to the best of their ability, everyone is included, everyone has fun. I loved it back when it came out, and just ordered a used copy from Amazon. I think it's time for a second edition. Anybody in publishing out there? Take this idea and run, skip, jump, and twirl with it!

I've been thinking a lot about competition, in contrast with cooperation. Personal, creative, and business relations in this area have been extra tricky for me lately. I don't like it, but I know I have to take a close look at it, and because I've been willing to do that, I'm finding some really interesting inspirations coming up. I don't want to go into specifics yet, because I'm aware of how quickly I blow through one small idea to the next, making my way to the Big Idea. It's like a box of Kleenex, littered behind me sometimes, and I know I can be hard to keep up with. 

For now, I just want to put it out there that I'm really getting the message that cooperation is better for all concerned than competition. Competition is based in fear, and the belief that there is only so much to go around, and it's not enough for everyone. To that, I shout Baloney! Haven't we all noticed yet that times are a-changing? Certainly in very real and visible ways, but also in more subtle energetic ways. Feel the vibes, man, and try to keep up. Look at something differently, and it becomes different. Cooperate rather than compete, and surprisingly, there is enough for everyone.

The point of my vague rambling? My focus, my intent, my very inspiration right now is on reconciling competition with cooperation. Maybe it's impossible. Maybe it's too soon. Or maybe the timing is perfect. Only one way to find out, and that's to keep pulling the Kleenex out of the box and letting it flutter in the wind. That, and maybe a friendly game of dominoes.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly with you about competition, especially the way it is exploited in sports, politics, and business. People can get downright mean, violent, and ugly and so often do. But, sadly, competition is what fuels capitalism and this country. The attitude is "I gotta get mine before you can get yours". Sad, sad, sad.

  2. My motto has always been "There's enough guts and glory to go around".

  3. The greatest contradiction in terms to me is "friendly competition". Competition fuels the planet, not just this country lol.

  4. Ahah! Penny "stole" my comment. Do ya think I can sue, defame or squash her for that? And a lot of fuels are terribly polluting :-). Thanks for another good post, Kim and her thoughtful commentators. Norine

  5. Everyone above said it perfectly. Thanks Kim, Suzie

  6. When I did street fairs and art shows I realized that other artists were not competition. Because we were all there together we ll drew customers. Because each artist was unique, they complimented each other.

    For me, often my best sales were to other artists! My happiest were trades!

  7. Sadly , some people do think that marketing their creations is a competition .
    But, I have always seen it more like a game of Leap Frog. You do keep jumping over people. But, then they jump over you...the leader constantly changes.I keep trying to hop to the front ! If I did not , I'm sure I would never have grown nearly as much as an artist or a "shop " keeper.
    I agree with you,I don't care who's the winner!
    I just LOVE playing the game!
    m.e .:)

  8. Once again you've put a voice to a subject that has haunted me for a long time. I'm also not a competitive person....and having an intellectually challenged child has really made me sensitive to the competitive spirit that pervades our society (when all the other moms were bragging about their "brilliant" children, I stayed silent until I understood that my child was brilliant, too, in her own way). But I also realize that there are some people who actually enjoy the challenge of competition...and that's OK too. My instincts, though, tell me that when we overcome our egos and learn to cooperate more, we might evolve into a more loving - and advanced - society. Just a thought...thanks for listening and for posting!


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