A Competitive Community

Indians are competitive. We are competitive in every possible thing that we can be.

As a child, I remember the competition to get the best grades. Later, it was SAT scores and colleges. After that, it was careers. Then came marriage and children.

It was also happening within the community outside of our Indian one but it was definitely amplified within it.

It didn’t matter if we were in the top 10 of our class in our school, we had to also to better than the people we were growing up with (or at least comparable).

I’m positive that there is always some talk about who is married and who has had kids and who is a stay at home mom and who is a working mom. There’s definitely competition in who has the best wedding and the most original wedding and the most expensive wedding.

This competition exists in whatever we do. I’ve experienced it heavily in different dance companies. The crazy thing to me is that I honestly believe we limit our potential as a culture if we compete.

We want to be able to share how wonderful the Indian culture is with the world. But how can we do that when we try to keep each other down? We want to involve and encourage as many people as possible.

So the question becomes why? Why should we encourage others in our community? What if they are our competition for schools and jobs? What if their business competes directly with ours? Won’t it hurt us?

In my opinion, no. I’ve seen the discouragement and disappointment of a competitive community and I’ve seen the amazing community that people can build if they have each other’s support. In the long run, everyone moves forward if we work together and lift each other up. Maybe, just maybe, India with its billion of people can have more of a presence world-wide. We could enter in the Olympics and have more than 4 people. We could be more than a side-note in the entertainment industry (especially since India makes the most movies in the world). We could build a great, progressive country that is respected.

I honestly believe this all starts at home. Build each other up. Encourage each other. Help each other move forward.

Are You Really Happy Or Just Happy On Facebook?

A few years ago, I wrote a post about “My Perfect Facebook Life“. I actually had to take a break from Facebook for a few months because seeing other people’s lives looking so perfect and amazing all the time made me feel like I was missing something.

Out of curiosity, when you take a look at other people’s posts on Facebook, does it feel like everyone is out living life and you’re sitting wherever you are looking at them live their lives? Even their food for dinner seems more exciting than whatever you’re doing. It’s like, all of a sudden, you realize that there is this great, big world and you aren’t everywhere. I have fomo enough without needing to be reminded where and when I was or was not invited somewhere or if I missed an event. Knowing what happens elsewhere without me really does mess with my mind.

So how do you get past it? Can you look at other people’s lives and just see it as their experiences and enjoy your own experiences for what they are?

Do you sometimes feel like it’s a competition to make your life seem like it’s the most interesting one? Or to show that we’re the most loved or that we have the most friends? Or are people really just innocently wanting to share their lives and it’s just crazy people like me that feel this way?

Are people really that happy all the time? If it’s so, I think it’s great and I want to know that person’s secret. If it’s not, are we lying to the world by only showing the good stuff or are we just presenting what we should because it doesn’t make sense to share all the crap? Do I look like one of those super happy people or like I live in reality (assuming my reality isn’t super happy all the time)?

I think I just need to find a way to deal with Facebook and the way it is.

How about you?

What’s Your First Reaction? Good Or Bad?

Yesterday, I bought something that I thought a few other people I know might enjoy. When I asked them about it, the first response I received was the fact that what I had bought wasn’t the best and it could have been better.

It was discouraging. When I┬ádiscussed the reaction with a friend, he mentioned that it wasn’t the first time he had heard a negative reaction coming from an Indian person.

The reaction brought up the question of why so many Indian people do have an automatic negative reaction when you tell them something.

Obviously, not everyone is like this. I know a few people that are amazingly positive. However, I am aware that even I do this to. When someone tells me about something good, my first thought is┬áliterally a “But…” statement. Why do I even respond this way? If someone tells me something good, shouldn’t my first reaction be a positive one?

Is it an Indian thing? Are we built to always be bringing others down a notch? Why? Is it insecurity? Do we feel insecure that something good happened to someone else? Do we feel as thought we aren’t up to some standard that we have set for ourselves? Are we comparing ourselves against the person who told us the good news? Is everything a competition?

It really sucks when someone has a negative reaction to you when you achieve something good or thought of something nice to do for someone else. It makes us feel as though it’s not worth doing or not worth sharing. As a community, shouldn’t we be supporting each other? Won’t we achieve more together than separate?

It takes a lot of self-awareness to recognize that you do this. But I think if you do see this pattern in your thoughts and reactions, there is a chance that we can correct this aspect of ourselves.

I am going to try to be more positive towards others. Why not? I have nothing to lose other than my negativity.

Competition

Does it feel like sometimes life is a competition? We want to be the first to graduate, first to be a success in our career, first to get married, first to have kids. Then, we will probably repeat this cycle with the next generation as well.

What makes us so competitive? Why don’t we live our life according to our own timeline, to our own standards? Why do we feel like we have to win something by being first?

It’s difficult to accept sometimes that we are right where we are supposed to be. The reason we haven’t reached a certain milestone in our lives is because we weren’t meant to be there quite yet.

I honestly believe that everything has a reason and sometimes, we can’t see that reason until later. Hindsight is definitely a lot clearer than the present.

Everything around us dictates competition. We are in a world that teaches us that we have to go against each other so that we can be number one in something. Why can’t we be satisfied in achieving what we want to achieve and then being at peace with that?

It’s okay not to be the best (at least what the world considers the best). It’s okay to be happy with yourself as you are. It’s okay to know what you look to achieve in life and once you have reached that goal, it’s good to be satisfied with what you have achieved.

Be happy with where you are in life. It’s definitely more fun than always being competitive.

The Power Struggle

We live in a world of competition. From the time we are born, it’s all about where we fall compared to everyone else. It’s about how to get ahead and who earns more money and who gets the most credit in life.

But does that make us happy?

Whenever I have been in a power struggle or a competition, I feel miserable. I feel like I’m forcing myself to be someone I’m not. I like doing my best but because I want to and not because I feel like I have to prove something to others.

In the business world, it seems as though in order to succeed, you have to be in full control of everything. You can’t share information and you can’t be open and honest to move forward. I’m hoping this isn’t true because then, things becomes about the individual and not the company as a whole. I think the same thing applies for individuals and the community. The more we try to keep control over certain things, the more we hold back from growing something incredible. We have to trust that our belief and hard work will be noticed and understood.

I wonder if this power struggle comes from insecurity. Is it that we want to know for a fact that we have done something or achieved something? Is it that we need validation that we are important and mean something to someone somewhere? What makes us need such complete control over everything?

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of fighting for a place. I just want to do what I have a passion for and do my best at it. And if I’m lucky enough, it will make a difference in the world.

 

Inspiration

Has anyone else ever wondered why there aren’t more people representing India in the Olympics? India has over a billion people and another who knows how many around the world. How do we end up going to the Olympics with maybe 30 representatives?

We watched an Indian movie this past weekend called “Bhaag Milka Bhaag”, literally meaning “Run, Milkha, Run”. It was about Milkha Singh who participated in the Olympics in the late 50s, early 60s. It was such an inspiring movie about a man who found a way to make something of himself even though he had lost a lot when the partition happened in India in 1947.

I really hope this movie inspires others at it has inspired me. I hope that the kids growing up in India realize that they do have the opportunity to really do something great in this world if they just put their efforts into it. I don’t want to assume anything, considering I don’t live there and don’t know if part of the reason that Indians don’t have a great presence in the Olympics is due to politics or money or some other reason unknown to me.

I have two little cousins who are maybe about 10 years old that have been born and raised in India. Both of them are fantastic swimmers and have been winning competitions as long as they have been swimming. I know at least one of them has her heart set on participating in the Olympics one day. I can only hope that this dream does come true and we get to cheer her on in a few years.

So why doesn’t India have a more dominating presence in these international games? I know they do in some sports (I’d like to say namely cricket) but what about everything else? We can’t possibly have no one who can compete in swimming, track, gymnastics. Are people in India so caught up in becoming actors or models that sports just isn’t as important?

I look forward to the day where the country of my heritage can be competitive in these international forums.

Life is Not a Popularity Contest

I know it is going to totally sound like I’m that bitter woman who had horrible teenage years where I had no friends. This is actually not true. I had friends. I still do see those people every so often. Some are still really good friends. Some, I’ve fallen away from. Some have ended badly. It happens. We grow up and things change.

Maybe it’s because I’m competitive and it’s possibly all in my head, but does it seem like we still compete to know the most people or have the most people at our events? Who likes us and who is just kind of there? I just want to know that if push came to shove, who would be on my side and who would ditch me? But really why do I feel that way?

There are people that will like us and there are people that won’t. It’s funny how much extra energy we spend on those that will never like us for whatever reasons they have (even if we think they are flawed reasons). Why not appreciate those who love us for who we are? And why isn’t it easy to accept that there’s no competition?

I have some friends that are the nicest people in the world. So nice that almost anyone we know likes them. I know I’m not that person. I just don’t have it in me to be that patient or that nice all the time. I have moments where I lose my temper and moments where I disappear and don’t want to be around anyone. I figure those that know me will accept me for who I am and allow me to explain those times. Those who don’t understand me won’t and the friendship will fall away.

Then, we end up spending time wondering about those who have fallen away. If they even remember if we exist.

Eventually, we have to come to terms with the fact that it’s a big world with a lot of people. And the more energy spent on those who we are internally competing with takes away from those who we have a real relationship with. In the end, that energy is definitely better spent being around people we love and doing things we love. I don’t know if it’s a survival instinct to compete with those that we feel threatened by but we need to learn to move past it and accept that whatever it is, it is. In my opinion, it’s more important to have one reliable good friend than 20 acquaintances.

I just hope I can get my instincts to agree.