The right way to compete

Tao Te Tuesday

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The best athlete
wants his opponent at his best.
The best general
enters the mind of his enemy.
The best businessman
serves the communal good.
The best leader
follows the will of the people.

All of them embody
the virtue of non-competition.
Not that they don't love to compete,
but they do it in the spirit of play.
In this they are like children
and in harmony with the Tao.
68

Tao Te Ching, a New English Version, copyright ©️ 1988 by Stephen Mitchell, published by HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

Where do you draw the line between healthy and unhealthy competition? It turns out, as far as Taoism is concerned, the line is quite clear. But first see what they both look like.

On one hand we have Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. What keeps them coming back to the court? It’s definitely not money, fame or trophies; they have plenty of that. I would argue that they bring each other to the court. They keep each other on their toes, just as much as they want to be kept on their toes. They want each other at their best to savor every last drop of life that tennis has to offer.

On the other, we have Arron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.1 Burr sees Hamilton eyeballing his trophy (The US Presidency) and it sparks envy. That envy leads to hate. The enemy seems exhibits no restraint. They take and they take and they take. Slowly it becomes more about taking Hamilton down than anything else. When competing this way, you may win, but you’ll pay for it. You’ll be the villain in their history.

So where is the line? The line is the prize.

The worst thing you can do to an actor is give them an Oscar. The worst thing you can do to an Astronaut is take them to space. Obsessing about the prize is what turns children into adults. The prize makes us forget the world is wide enough for both you and your competitors. To avoid your demise, care less about the prize.


Song Pick of the Week (Official TTT Playlist here)

  1. Grandes études de Paganini - Liszt

Thank you very much!

Until next Tuesday,

Daniel

1

For better context watch Hamilton on Disney+. Also its awesome.

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