Oxford dictionary defines competition as, “A situation in which people or organisations compete with each other for something that not everyone can have”. What this implies is that competition is a by-product of scarcity.
So, when resources are scarce then people compete among themselves to have assess to those resources and thus the spirit of competition is born. Competition is the opposite of cooperation. It arises whenever atleast two parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared or which is desired individually, and hence cannot be achieved collectively.
Humans, by their very nature are competitive, as they constantly face lack of resources, as compared to their unlimited wants. Darwin’s `theory of survival of the fittest’ also implied that only those species would survive and grow which have the ability to compete and emerge as winners as against other weaker species who lost in the game of life. Human beings have not only survived the evolution process, but they have also emerged as the , superior beings. This proves beyond doubt that humans are competitive and that competition is the fundamental pillar of human evolution.
However, research from developmental literature suggests that competitive nature of humans vary according to gender, race and age. In terms of gender, most research suggests that males tend to be more competitive than females. Similarly, students from cultures that emphasise ‘individualism’ such as Americans, Europeans etc tend to be more competitive than students from cultures that emphasise `collectivism’ such as South Asians, Africans etc. Also, the youth are more competitive than middle aged population. So, it leads us to the conclusion that competition among youth is a global phenomenon, India being no exception. In India, competition begins when a fifteen years old appears in the Board Exams, it intensifies when he seeks an admission for a degree and is at its peak when he tries to find an occupation for himself.
As per statistics, nearly four lakh secondary school pass-outs apply for a few thousand seats in engineering/medicine and other professional courses in a handful of premier institutions across the country and this leads to cut-throat competition among them.
The present scenario in India is that of an ever increasing cut-offs, which demand absolute perfection, as it evident when some colleges affiliated to University of Delhi announced a cut-off entry percentage of 99%. The competition faced by the aspirants of a government job can be assessed by the fact that when recently railways announced 18000 job openings, nearly one crore aspirants applied for it
The reservation quota in India adds fuel to an already burning fire. The reservation policy of the Indian Government allows an easy assess for the reserved category to educational institutions and government jobs. This reduces the opportunities for the non-reserved or general category of people and enhances the level of competition among them.
So, we can say that in today’s world, competition is inevitable. As Michael Jordan has rightly observed, “You have competition every day because you set such high standards for yourself that you have to go out every day and live up to that” The impacts of growing level of competition are both positive and negative on youths. With competition being unavoidable, there is a large fraction of youth who have accepted it and have made it a propelling force in their career. Competition generates interest and excitement and helps an individual to give his best.
Competition encourages youth to work hard. They understand that success does not comes easily in the environment of competition. Competition also helps youth to enhance their skills as they are very well aware of the fact that the one who work efficiently and effectively can achieve success easily. They also become appreciative of the fact that in today’s competitive world, knowledge of work is less important than the knowledge to make the work different and thus, stand out in a crowd.
Competition also encourages youth to be adept at multitasking, as this increases their chances of success. Competition also enhances their creativity and helps them to plan for long-term and short-term goals. As it is lightly observed by Nancy Pearcey, “Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best.” So, if an individual is able to cope up with competition and embrace its positive effects then he will undoubtedly succeed in his career.
But not all the people are able to face competition in a positive way. It’s negative results also manifest in youths who are not able to survive in a competitive environment . Youths who cannot manage to compete with other youths often become vulnerable to crime and drugs.
They get trapped in anti-social work such as robbery, fraud etc to earn money. Due to failure to succeed in their careers they becomes addicted to alcohol and drugs. In extreme cases, youths who are not able adjust themselves in the competitive world often choose to end their life.
Studies have revealed that the suicide rate of youth in India is the highest. Almost daily, there are reports of suicide by youngsters unable to bear the shame or the fear of failing to get into an educational institution of their choice.
Competition can thus said to be ethically neutral. The individual’s perception of it makes it good or bad. So, competition should be encouraged, but the youth should have access to counsellors, so that they are able to face it in a positive way.
Also, SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis should be conducted in schools and colleges which will help him to identify his strengths and weaknesses and chose a career accordingly.
Also, the youth should remember that they could compete with others or with themselves. Competing with others would make them aware of their faults and competiting with themselves would make improve on their strengths. So, if you continuously compete with others, you become bitter, but if you continuously complete with yourself, you become better. So, compete with yourself and the world will be your forte.