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.

The Other Forms of Dance

Have you ever noticed that when you talk to certain people about the type of dance you do (or whatever your thing is), that if it’s not what they think is the best type, they sort of tune you out and ignore what you said?

There have been quite a few people who can’t seem to see past what they think is the most important style of dance.

I’ve had people literally ignore my dance resume because it’s not the style of dance they believe in. I’ve heard people in my style of dance claim another form is easier than what they do and that it’s no big deal to learn. I’ve heard of people who don’t even want to watch something else because it’s not “real dance”.

It’s kind of insulting actually. Why is it that we can’t appreciate other forms of art? Why is it that we have to put down anything that is unfamiliar to us? Couldn’t it be possible that maybe it’s just as good and it takes just as much talent to do one form of dance as it does to do another?

And why is it that people feel the need to put something else down? Why can’t something we don’t know just be that? Is it insecurity? Is it the fear that if something else is as good or even better that we aren’t good anymore?

If we have enough talent and you are able to share that with others, then whatever you know is good enough. I’m hoping more people can stop being competitive and just support others in our field.

Sometimes, it says more about you that you are able to accept something is good rather than try to prove that it isn’t good at all.

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.

Learning How To Be Truly Happy For Someone Else

Reality check. As much as we would all love to be completely selfless and really be happy for someone else’s success, we aren’t. Most of us get jealous. Most of us envy. Most of us can show an outward happy face and continue to think “why not me?”.

It’s okay. It’s human. We all do this. And then we feel bad for feeling that way. We should feel just happiness for those we love, shouldn’t we? Then, why do we do this?

We are programmed for survival of the fittest. We are competitive. We want to win. And when we don’t, we feel bad for ourselves and that infringes on our happiness for someone else.

So how do we get past it?

It requires changing the way you react to things, the way you think about things. You might have to review your initial reaction and really try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You might have to fake it until the reaction is real. The last thing you would want is for someone to bring you down when you’re on top of the world. So why would you want to do that to someone else?

And it really means something to others when you show happiness for their accomplishments. Even if its hard to see, you, as a friend, significant other, family, helped in this achievement by supporting them through their path. Know this. It will help. 

And when we can truly be happy for someone else, we have achieved something great as well. 

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.

Oh NO, I’m caring!

As I was writing today’s post, I realized that I needed to start a new one. The reason for that was that I was thinking too much about what if I offend someone or they don’t agree with me. So now, somehow, I am caring what people think about what I write. The purpose of this blog was to bring up issues and thoughts that most people won’t say out loud. I am not supposed to censor myself. But here I am, doing exactly that. So I decided to start over and to write about why should I care what people think.

I want people to enjoy what I’m writing about as well as really start thinking about issues that are brought up in these posts. I forget that it’s not all about how many views you have or how many likes you have just because the numbers make me feel validated. It makes me feel like I’m doing something useful in this world when I see a lot of people liking my posts.

Here’s the thing. I’m not doing this for the numbers. That wasn’t my original goal. I’m doing this to talk about things that hadn’t been talked about. And that includes censoring myself for no reason. That includes most of us censoring ourselves because we think someone might not like us or might criticize us.

Why do we worry so much about this? Yes, we should be discerning and tactful in what we say but at the same time, why are we so worried that someone is immediately going to dislike us because we say what is on our minds? Most likely than not, that person is worrying about what he/she will say rather than what you’re going to say.

We all want to be liked, accepted. There are people that will come into your life and will like you and there are people that will not. This happens to everyone. So maybe we should just be confident in what we are trying to say and say it. We know that our intentions are not bad. If someone takes something the wrong way, they can discuss with you and listen to what you actually meant or they can dislike you for it and walk out of your life. At the end of the day, if someone does not like you for something you said (true or not), it is their problem. As long as you are not intentionally being rude or mean, saying what you’re thinking should not be a huge deal. You are allowed to express yourself.

I have learned over the years that if you worry too much about what you say, things get left unsaid. Sometimes, everyone is thinking it and no one wants to say it. Sometimes, it’s that one thought that crosses one mind that can solve a problem or help someone. Sometimes, it might be that one thing that gets said that prevents a bigger problem from happening. I don’t want to make this sound like you’re saving the world by saying what you’re thinking but I still want you to believe that it might. And it might. All of the great people who have fought for freedom or for change are people who didn’t care what others thought and said what needed to be said.

So believe in yourself. Believe in what you have to say. Believe that your words count.