By Cindy, age 17, Texas
First place. Second place. Third place.
Usually people don't like to hear anything below that. Fifth place? Ugh!
But who is to blame that person?
All of our lives, the world has instilled the word 'competition' into our minds. Sometimes all we think about is winning. Of course, sometimes we realize this colossal mistake, but the next second we have forgotten about it.
People might say 'nice work' or 'good effort' but they never put as much emotion into it as they would if they saw a first place trophy. Due to this mentality, everyone at a school or competition is seeking the coveted trophies. The gleaming gold or silver trophy reflecting the face of the winner. That's the real triumph.
When people are working and putting in all their efforts, they are usually after the victory. They are not assuming that they might not win because they'd give up sooner. Rarely is someone after the valuable experience and skills they will gain even if they fail.
Just recently I was at a Saturday competition, arriving at the school of the event, and I spotted the multitude of people there. Not knowing them, I noticed how confident and focused they seemed. I wondered what I looked like and if I would have any of them in my competition event. When I entered the cafeteria, I immediately saw the coaches instructing their students and cramming in last minute material. Minutes before the competition, it seemed like the coaches wanted their students to win so badly, recounting advice and reminding them repetitively about certain topics. The atmosphere had never been as intense.
But competition isn't only at schools; it pretty much dominates the world. Countries are constantly being ranked in terms of economies and power. It's always about the winning. Only those who manage to stay on top can still hold onto their steps.
Sometimes it seems as if competing in every aspect of our life is the only way to find success. At least that's how the world has portrayed it to us every day. It tends to be the ones who place at the top who have the coveted jobs or schools of their choice. Everything in the world is competition, whether it's school or the real world, and honestly, I don't know if there's a real solution to this. But you can be a part of those who are not "trophy hungry" and actually seek the skills and experience you'll be gaining at the end. Remember, failure and mistakes are often the quickest path to success.