There are people for whom competition is a fight and academic excellence is a part of the larger struggle for existence. A lot depends on how you view the totality of education and its manifold aspects and your approach to the various issues. One really needs to understand the impact of both competition as well as the level of excellence one may achieve in any task.
One school of thought advocates no competition. Academic performances need not be a constant fight against other students. Beating other persons, defeating other students is not part of education. The school’s primary duty is to help you develop into a balanced person. This does not mean that students should not work hard and aim for excellence in whatever they do, whether it is academics, games and sports, or any other activities that are relevant and related to their all round personal growth.
For a true evaluation of one self, a student need not run a ‘rat-race’ of education whose only motive is being first, beating and leaving others behind. You compete with yourself alone to realize your talents, abilities, and potentialities. Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible.
Competition, as I understand, becomes a winning proposition if excellence is pursued. Competing for the sake of competition is full of chasms and ends up being a chore that gives no surety of success, whereas if the route to competing is through the pursuit of excellence, it suddenly becomes full of possibilities! Orison Swett Marden remarks: “Just make up your mind at the very outset that your work is going to stand for quality… that you are going to stamp a superior quality upon everything that goes out of your hands, that whatever you do shall bear the hallmark of excellence.” Marden has uttered a truth that means much more than any paeans that people have been singing for competition per se.
Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price. For students the path is devoid of any complexities. It simply means:
- Focus on understanding the concepts behind every fact.
- Practice giving coherence to the spoken word.
- Adopt the right non-verbal stances.
- Promote a healthy inter-personal level.
You may be preparing for your sojourn into a top B-school or you may be dreaming of academic excellence elsewhere, what matters is your understanding that the route to winning in any competition is through a realization your talents, abilities, and potentialities.
Another vital aspect that needs to be understood is that the test of the student does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the results he produces. Enthusiasm, zeal, and josh are excellent starters and their role cannot be undermined. However, please remember that once you have decided on the path it is the speed and dogged determination by which you walk on it that will have a direct bearing on success crowning you in the future.
The more focused effort you put into something, the more valuable you make it. The more time and attention you give to a task or activity, the more rewarding that activity will be. As a student you need to dedicate attention and time both to all those areas that will make competition a cake-walk! It should never be the other way round… competition or winning in a competition should not be made the start-point for your attention and time! The process of building and creating is a naturally joyful one. Give of yourself to that process and fully enjoy the experience of making a positive difference.
Just remember that a winner is one who prepares well! Choose excellence over mere competition and you will have chosen victory!
01 February 2016