Perception & Competition – The Looking Glass Reflections & Refractions

Perception….it’s a tricky little thing to put your finger on ya know? It’s either the skewed kind, or, the rose tinted kind or something caught somewhere in the middle of the two. It’s an uncertainty that people in general love to puff their chests out and scream, rant and shriek with such confidence and clarity that really the beholder or listener wouldn’t even know how far from the shadow of truth this illusion falls into. The last few days if not weeks, in particular, have been highly fascinating and have added quite a bit of growth to my ever expanding growth curve. You know how people say that wisdom is something you acquire with age, time (I guess it qualifies if not falls into the same bracket as age) and time? Well…NEWSFLASH….some people just never stand to gain any regardless of those 3 above mentioned factors, it’s as if they’re stuck in this moment of time that they might never graduate from.

From time immemorial we’re always told about the ticking clock…that concept in life ’bout how we’re running out of time…time to be the brightest academic genius in our akademik endeavours, or that coveted musical, artsy or sports prodigy that we’re supposed to be, or to achieve and fulfill those dreams we’ve always had (despite having no clue what those ideas or dreams may be at times) or, to have the time of our lives, to fall in love and things of the sort. In not so many words, we’re running out of time to revel in that thing called youth and we’re plummeting towards this thing called old age…hold still people ‘cuz blink and you may just miss your youth. Okay so tell me oh smart ones who believe in the rush rush, hush hush game, why exactly do you have your clocks ticking on all those things that you have your eyes and dreams set on? What happens if there’s a sudden change in plans and you get totally blindsided and suddenly realize all that rush to reach the finish line was pointless? I doubt it’s going to make you feel like you accomplished anything…in fact I think it’s gonna make you bust out a list of things you have left to accomplish, instead of making a list of the things you know you’ve accomplished and taking comfort and solace from that list. It’s human nature I guess, to never quite feel like you’ve accomplished whatever you’ve wanted to, ‘cuz want is the one appetite we can never satiate.

In addition to leading such racy, pacy lives there is one crucial and critical cofactor, if I may say so, that one cannot ignore nor sideline. It’s the one companion that never finds the exit door in our lives, it’s the motivational factor and the ultimate destroyer in oh so many ways. Please put your hands together for life’s unfailing constant….competition. It’s quite intriguing actually, life might be the only equation in the Universe that has such a unique and diverse set of constants. I’m sure you’re all aware of this thing called competition, in some of you it brings out the cattiest and bitchiest sides ever, where you’d be willing to sell your soul to the devil and go through irrevocable and irreversible decisions in life and earn colourful names and titles, but then again you’re pretty sure you don’t care. Try asking that part of your soul that actually still has a bit of a conscience wandering in there, I’m sure it begs to differ. I’m not saying the aggressive nature of being competitive is a bad thing, it sometimes is the catalyst that pushes us towards the brink of a revolutionary, life altering discovery. Let’s just be straight up about it and say that no progress would occur without competition…but here’s my issue with competition.

Competition is great and all, but you should know how to handle it…you see like I said before life is an equation, and a balanced one at that. All your actions have a cost and a consequence, so you might wanna think twice before you embark on your journey…try and get rid of those blinkers you’d prefer walking around with you know? And hey, this lil’ note I’m adding here you REALLY should take into consideration ‘cuz you’d be an absolute ignorant idiot to ignore it or even laugh it off. NEVER…never ever underestimate the person sitting next to you, never for a single second in your life believe that the person sitting next to you is an idiot or dumbass with nothing between their ears, regardless of points served up on an IQ test or grades scored on exams, and then some. To underestimate someone is to be a fool, it just means you have sooo much more to observe and so many more lessons to learn that the world has to offer.

I’m no stranger to competition, it’s something that’s been a part and parcel of my life from a very young age. But, I’ll tell you what about this whole competition thing really pissed me off as a kid. See I get the whole thing about parents wanting and needing to be a part of their kids’ lives, it’s a very natural and human thing to do. I mean c’mon which parent wouldn’t want to be part of the growing/wonder years of their kids’ lives? I get all of that, but what I don’t get is when parents start interfering in places and events where it is absolutely unnecessary. I think it’s essential that kids figure out the whole ground rules for being competitive with each other as well as setting standards, ethics and principles for themselves. Parents need to teach their children right from wrong, and how to pick themselves up if and when they fall, because believe it or not sooner or later each and every one of us go through that crushing drop zone, and there never really is a better teacher than experience. And who best can tell you about epxerience besides the recesses of your memories? Well holy jalapenos Batman, there’s your parents as well!

I don’t think parents should ever get into other kids’ faces and tell them that they don’t have what it takes to be half as successful nor are they half as talented or skilled as their own. Think about it, you’re an adult telling a child that they have no talents or skills and are pretty much stupid, how do you think a kid would feel when they hear something like that? It may seem a little hard to believe, but it’s true…there are a few parents who have no stones in saying things of this nature to other people’s kids, especially when the parents aren’t around. Ya know growing up we all go through stages of uncertainty where we’re not quite sure what we’re good at and we’re just getting to know more about ourselves and all of that fun stuff? Well guess what Sherlock…when you have adults confirming your lil’ doubts about things you suck at, I’m not quite sure how that’s supposed to make anyone feel any better about themselves. Let’s not forget that we’re talking about children…and, when they hear adults talking to them they think the grown up knows better than they do ‘cuz lets face it we always say grown ups know more and know better than kids. Yeah this is definitely familiar turf for me, this was something I’ve had a few aunties be kind enough to tell me, how else do you think I got such a sparkling personality?

It’s one thing when this happens in childhood, but it’s completely different when it still happens when you’re an adult. Okay firstly parents doing that is wrong, I’ve been lucky enough to have folks who don’t care for stuff like that, they’ve always allowed us kids to expand and find our own depths and our own shortcomings, if not they’ve been kind enough to point ’em out and well you know have a series of jokes going on ’bout it for eternity. Recently, I heard someone’s, (falling within the parental bracket might I add), input ’bout a really good friend of mine, and besides being gobsmacked and pissed, there was a part of me that just caused me to shake my head in frustration and disgust at how people have the audacity to say the things they do. How does someone older, and mind you with kids, and apparently mature, have the right to comment on anyone being a fool and a complete brainless idiot without even spending enough time to get to know of their strengths and shortcomings? I mean don’t they realize that other people, well forget people…heck their own so called best friends, call and consider their kids to be brainless idiots or worse yet? It’s appalling how people never think before they speak, and how their foot finds the way to their mouths faster than their words do.

Perception….it’s an art and a skill that one should hone, not waste so foolishly on useless things. It’s our gift if not privilege of viewing the world a certain way and working towards that vision. Use it to be a visionary, use it to make a difference in someone’s life instead of being a thorn in people’s lives, people have too many of those, especially in the kind of world we live in these days. Remember, life is an equation, everything in that equation is meant to be balanced. Variables and constants don’t get added to make it look fancy, shmancy and better than anything Newton, Planck, Farraday or Einstein came up with really, they’re just the factors we contribute to our own equation and it’s the weight of our actions that ultimately end up balancing that equation. Live to make your life count ‘cuz end of the day there’s nothing like knowing you did what you could to the best of your abilities, and take pride in the little victories as well as the losses.


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