For men in particular, being a competitive type and a go-getter is seen as a very positive trait. But what happens when you lose the competition?
If your self esteem is linked to how well you can compete against another man, then winning becomes everything. Therefore, how you perceive yourself as a man if you can’t compete, must impact you unfavourably.
Whether it’s competing to have the best car, the most honed physique, or the most ample genitalia, someone has to lose. There’s always going to be someone with bigger, better, everything!
In that case, the point of competing must be to measure where you rank in the pecking order. It is still Darwinism at its best. Yet Darwin had no idea how complex the world would become when he wrote his theories of evolution.
Competing to see who is the best hunter/gatherer is one thing. Competing to see who can make the best deal on the stock market is quite another. They are both about mastering the art of winning, but no one’s life actually depends upon predicting the FTSE index. Though some might argue the amount of suicides that happen on Wall Street when the market collapses, proves otherwise.
When winning and self esteem are linked in your mind, you have to keep on winning. You have to win at all costs. Yet just the phrase ‘at all costs’ says you have lost all perspective. You’re no longer in your sane mind. If in order to win, you’re willing lose everything, even the things you hold most dear, clearly you’re in trouble.
For those men who don’t know how to win big in the financial or physical arena, they may have to rely on their intellect or street smarts. Yet again, the measure will be that you have demonstrated—in this case, that you know more than someone else. Yet that too is a very tenuous win. It may also be a very short-lived one.
The point being that winning is always going to be a transient experience. If you don’t have the skills to keep winning in a particular arena, does that mean you have no inherent value?
Must you then be willing to be the equivalent of the middle child? Usurped by the cuteness of your younger sibling, not as powerful as your elder sibling? Doesn’t that cause a seething resentment in you? If so, how many seething and resentful men must there actually be in the world?
Being a loser is considered one of the worst insults that can be thrown at a man. The implication being that women (or men) don’t find you attractive. You’re no good at anything that counts. You don’t display the necessary traits that would make one a good citizen or partner.
Is it any wonder that there’s an entire movement of men that has emerged who posit that they have the right to a woman’s attention? They’re argument being that it’s not their fault if they can’t naturally attract a woman. They believe that women only want certain types of men so they have to take the women they want.
At the root of this insanity—let’s just call it what it is, there is still the idea of competition. They don’t feel they’re winning at the game of life. Therefore, they have to win (compensate) by becoming completely unfeeling towards women and totally without a moral code.
But then blind competitiveness does not require a moral code. Winning is winning right?
The nature and benefits of competitiveness is definitely an ongoing discussion. Extremely competitive men will have to think long and hard about the ramifications of their competitiveness. What does competitiveness actually prove? Especially as there can be no actual end point. There can be no ultimate and final winner.
Competing against one’s self may be the only true measure. Even then, what happens if you don’t meet your own standards? When will you know you’ve won? And if you’ve won, will you truly be satisfied?
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