Competition: Good or Bad?

In the past few years, many people have started to think that competition is unnecessary. Teachers are concerned that students might feel upset and discouraged if they aren’t at the top of their class. Although it is true that not everyone can win, competition should still be encouraged. Competition allows human beings to improve themselves and be motivated (Jones 2009). First and foremost, I think that competition is a natural element of our lives, and depriving competition only makes things worse for our world (Jones 2009).

In high school, competition is everywhere. Many students compete for titles such as the best basketball player, best math student, or best artist. When it comes to professional sports, there are many great rivalries. For years, I have watched great rivalries between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Rivalries allow individuals to better themselves, because only one team or individual can win when it comes to sports. It allows someone to improve, and try to win the next time around. For me, when it comes to science fair or a math and science competition, I always try to be much better the next year. Everyone has their ups and downs, and you can’t win or be good at everything.

Artwork is a great example of how competition has helped influence our world. Artwork in our world allows us to express our feelings and views. Most of our impressive pieces of art come from the 15th century, which was the time of the Renaissance. Had it not been for the competitiveness during those times, artwork would probably be far different than the way it is today. Friendly competition between artists allows people to work for something, and also allows people to display their skills. Just like debate, competition allows one to expand his or her abilities. Competitions can give the drive necessary for people to accomplish great things. Most of Florentine artwork was produced out of competition between artists.

Just like how there is competition in the 21st century, there was competition in the 15th century. An enormous cathedral called the Duomo, began construction in 1296, and continued for nearly six centuries (Esaak 2008). Adjacent to the cathedral, is a building called the Baptistery. An artist named Andrea Pisano built a pair of bronze doors for the east side of the Baptistery (Esaak 2008). These doors were considered to be modern wonders at the time, and many of the inhabitants of Florence wanted another set of bronze doors. As a result, a competition was set-up for all sculptors and painters, to make the best set of bronze doors. In the end, it was between Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti. The judges chose Ghiberti in the end, despite both having similar skillsets (Esaak 2008). In conclusion, Ghiberti got the commission, and Brunelleschi turned his talents to architecture.

Without competition in our world, we surely would not have been able to achieve so much. Many scientists wouldn’t have been able to further their skills, as they wouldn’t have been able to compete against others. Most of our discoveries came from people who had a drive, because they wanted to find something out about the world before someone else. Our school would also be very different, as we wouldn’t have the talented students that we have right now. When it comes to competition, I think that the positives outweigh the negatives. Competiveness is a quality that we can thank humanists of the Renaissance for, as they were from a time where many ideals and views changed for the better.

Works Cited

Esaak, Shelley. “Early Italian Renaissance Art – How Florence Got a Competitive Edge.” About.com  Art History. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. <http://arthistory.about.com/cs/arthistory10one/a/early_ren_2.htm&gt;.

Jones, Katherine. “Does Competition Help or Hurt Young People?” Helium.com. 4 Mar. 2009. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.helium.com/debates/116934-does-competition-help-or-hurt-young-people/side_by_side&gt;.

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4 comments

  1. natalie518

    Hey Ajay, nice blog post!
    I definitely agree with you that competition is a necessary aspect of society – it really does push people forward – but I would think that teamwork and collaboration are of the same importance, if not more. What if Ghiberti and Brunelleschi had worked together? Might the product have been even better? What do you think?
    Thanks again for the interesting post!
    ~Natalie

    • Thanks Natalie! That’s a really great point you brought up there! I agree that teamwork is really important. In companies like Intel, Microsoft, and Apple, people work in groups, instead of working individually, and have been able to release many great products. Working as a team definitely can be more productive as opposed to working by yourself.

      If Ghiberti and Brunelleschi had worked together, they might have been able to achieve more, but it all depends on how well they got along with each other. They would have been able to combine their thoughts and ideas, and they could have created some great artwork.

      Thanks again for reading my post!

  2. vijaye

    Hi Ajay,

    I think you did an excellent job on this blog post. I think that it is important what you brought up and it’s interesting that you believe that competition is necessary. But there are still a lot of people who believe that competition in school environments is not necessary. Some say that it is bad. For example, in India where there is a lot of competition, the suicide rate among students is extremely high (see article, http://www.asiaone.com/News/Education/Story/A1Story20100205-196894.html). While you talk a lot about the benefits of competition, the consequences of competition, such as losing, can be taken badly. Do you think that the bad side of competition still outweigh the benefits of competition, especially when lives are at stake? Again, great job with this.

    Sincerely,
    Vijay

    • Thanks Vijay! Just like you said, competition can cause many problems. When it comes to taking important exams, I know for a fact that many people in India have gotten upset and decided to commit suicide. This is very bad, but competition is a natural element of our lives. However, I agree that removing competition in school environments can be beneficial in some cases. There are too many competitions for high school students, and I think that the importance and seriousness of some competitions should be lowered a bit, so that students merely look at them being simply for fun.

      Thanks for reading my post Vijay!

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