Some build up … some cut down

Ambition plus fair and honest competition are very useful in one’s journey up the ladder of success. But have you noticed how some people believe that the only way to move forward is by holding others back?

Instead of endeavouring to hone their own skills, they would rather blunt the other person’s blade. Perhaps we could name such people M.O.W.E.R.s (Moving Ahead With Extreme Ruthlessness).

Their planning is geared towards finding ways of denigrating the opponent, making the public feel that the competition is incompetent, and cruel. Even if their competitors produce something of worth the MOWERs will find a convoluted way of illustrating an imagined hidden agenda.

Who are these MOWERs? They are everywhere; in fact if we look closely we can often see a little MOWER inside ourselves. By trying to make others look bad in order that we should appear good, could well be an indication of our shallowness. By extension, whatever we have to offer would also likely be superficial.

[pullquote]Appreciating the good that others do goes a long way in the development of mutual trust. [/pullquote]It is so easy to take everyday occurrences for granted that we no longer recognise their importance. This can be observed in the political arena, in work place and even in the home. In the world of business this behaviour surfaces often not only between competitors, but also within individual companies.

Picture the following scenario. Mr. Smith is troubled by the youth, vitality and creativity of Mr. Jones. He is fearful of the sharpness and innovation shown by Jones. Instead of retraining and grooming himself to be up to date and more efficient, he chooses to step on Jones’ foot.

Jones cannot move forward any longer, but it is also clear that in order to maintain Jones’ stagnation, Smith has also to remain on the same spot mashing the foot of Jones. What we have here is a clear case of stalemate. To impede the progress of Jones, Smith has to sacrifice his own growth. If he raises his foot he knows that Jones will race ahead.

Maybe Smith’s basic difficulty is insecurity. Because he has an underdeveloped or inaccurate self-image he is in constant fear of being toppled from his position. He cannot afford to let the bosses, or the public, develop too much affinity with Jones for then they may forget him. If Smith experienced greater security both men could share the best of what they have. Smith could share the wisdom of his experience and Jones could infuse Smith with new ideas and methods.

There are many people like Smith who feel threatened by what they perceive as competition, regardless of its origin. They refuse to co-operate in case the competition learns too much, even if the competitor is on their own team.

Maybe there is truth in the often held view within spiritual circles that the ills within the world and within our homes are due to the ills within ourselves. Many of the problems facing us are of our own making and require a change of perspective; a vision of development that spans more than the four or five years of a political term in office and the understanding that personal greed leads to national need. When the nation is in need ill gotten wealth loses its value.

Some may label such thinking as naive and idealistic. Well that may be so, but surely we have to start somewhere. We can choose to be GROWERs or MOWERs.

Originally published in Business Journal.