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Why so ssserious?

Race as if your life depends on it

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So this [URL="http://www.theforumsa.co.za/blogs/entry.php/23-Are-you-a-winner"]sperm race[/URL] (my previous blog post) still occupies my mind ... and no, sweetie, get your mind out of the gutter!

It's a pretty gruesome reality that, unless you win, you're gonna die! Every little okey in this race has to swim for dear life, because his existence really and literally depends on it. The winner receives the ultimate prize! And the fellow who finished a fraction of a second short, in second place, receives nothing ... absolutely nothing ... he just dies. Whether he was second or third or tenth or in millionth place, he becomes nothing, because he simply dies!

Life thereafter isn't really much different, come to think of it. Nobody remembers the ones that came second, because there are no second places ... they literally don't exist. Let me explain:

Tell me, who invented the second car? You see, it's ridiculous, because how can you "invent" the same thing twice? Exactly! Once the race is won, the race is over, and it no longer matters who else participated. Who knows if there were other guys with the same idea Bill Gates had years ago? The point is, he finished first, and that actually erases whatever efforts anyone else put into the same race. Did you know that Elisha Gray (independently) invented the telephone at the same time as Alexander Graham Bell, but Bell beat Gray in a race to the patent office, by only a couple of hours?

In some professions (e.g. inventors, designers, entrepreneurs, researchers) you [B]have to be[/B] competitive. You can't just take a leisurely stroll down life's path, stop to smell the roses, and be content with "well, I'll get there when I get there". If you don't race as if your life depended on it, you won't win, because someone else, running the same race, [B]will[/B] race as if his life depends on it. And remember, when the race is won, the race is over!

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Updated 14-Aug-11 at 06:56 AM by mother

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  1. Dave A's Avatar
    I always struggle with the "winning is not everything, it's the only thing" philosophy, I suppose because I've lost so many races.

    Fortunately there are many, many races. Seems you only have to win some of them.
  2. mother's Avatar
    [QUOTE=Dave A;bt89]I always struggle with the "winning is not everything, it's the [B]only[/B] thing" philosophy[/QUOTE]

    No doubt many people feel uncomfortable about that philosophy, and probably for the same reason you've mentioned. But of course you would have to be a special kind of freak to win every single race you compete in. And besides, the big winners throughout history, each only have one or two big victories that we know of. And like you said, one or two are enough! Plus, if the law of averages is anything to go on, they must have lost hundreds of races we don't know of. ;)

    I have also lost many races myself, but I'm sure you'll agree that the experience you gain from competing, adds to your determination to improve and your drive to succeed. Those who adopt a victim-mentality in the process, (I believe) do so because they choose to compete in races they are not fit for, which only serves to destroy their own self esteem.

    I encourage my kids to compete, and I (try to) tolerate them fighting over toys / to be the "boss of the game", because they need to learn how to compete wisely and efficiently in order to be extraordinary adults one day.
  3. tec0's Avatar
    Sadly in the land of the pigs the butcher is king. Let's take atomization, it is possible with the technology available to us today to replace "almost" every job in the mining industry.

    We can also replace office workers with "voice activated" answering systems that you just say something it will get you where you need to be "eventually" but the tech will get better.

    Is it not true that we import most of our goods because it is cost effective and yet because jobs are becoming less and less that our people will no longer have buying power because they don't have an income? So the winners are the companies exporting to us, yet the importer expects to add a mark-up make profit and yet there is no contribution from their side?

    is it not true that 2% urns 98% of the earth's wealth? Does that mean that 98% of the world's population are losers and none existent?

    Right now the world's population is forced to play by the rules of the rich. But when the rules change and they will change I think it will no longer be about who is first. No... The rules will be; "It's yours if you can hang on to it"

    The day will come when the pigs think the butcher will taste good on toast.
  4. adrianh's Avatar
    Hmmm...interesting...

    True is you are a 100m sprinter and true if you want to get to the next robot first, but not for much else.

    Saying that I won a race because the sperm won the race is a hell of a stretch. What a strange take on life?

    Tell me, who invented the second car? You see, it's ridiculous, because how can you "invent" the same thing twice? Exactly!
    You talk as if the invention of the car is a finite one time event - It wasn't and still isn't - it was a long progression over time that included many brilliant and not so brilliant people, events, luck, accidents and lives - (Evolution as Darwin would say)

    Once the race is won, the race is over, and it no longer matters who else participated.
    I see, so the when Alexander Graham Bell made a tiny bit of noise across a bit of copperwire the race was over. The race for what? So Bill Gates is the man but all the hundreds of people and companies who developed electronics and computers don't matter.

    Who knows if there were other guys with the same idea Bill Gates had years ago? The point is, he finished first, and that actually erases whatever efforts anyone else put into the same race.
    So the work that Motorola, IBM, Dec Alpha, Cray and many others put in just vanishes.

    Define winning - is it the one who dies with the most toys. is it the one who gets the credit for an invention. Ok, so Donald Trump won his little game and Thomas Edison got credited for many inventions.

    Thomas Edison was a total bastard who stole many ideas from Nikoli Tesla. Some say Edison was brilliant - was he, he made many, many serious mistakes. Remember AC vs DC.

    Anyway, to get back to winning - who does the painter compete against, who does the teacher compete against, who does the nurse compete against.

    You know, I will far rather accept that there are people who are better than me, worse than me and who were responsible for creating an environment where I could achieve the things that are important to me.

    Nobody remembers the ones that came second, because there are no second places ... they literally don't exist
    I personally think that a winner takes all attitude is the worst attitude that one could have in life. It is sad to think that in your view that our own blade runner (Oscar Pistorius) should feel that all his efforts were in vain because he came second in a race.

    I encourage my kids to compete, and I (try to) tolerate them fighting over toys / to be the "boss of the game", because they need to learn how to compete wisely and efficiently in order to be extraordinary adults one day.
    Again this is a strange take on life - My girls, my wife and I spent the other night talking about co-operation and consideration - about how sometimes we need to let the other guy win and how sometimes we need to take a back seat for the good of the group. You do no need to teach kids to compete - animals and humans have been doing so for millions of years - we have to teach kids to be considerate towards one another and to cooperate with one another because it doesn't come naturally.
  5. murdock's Avatar
    it takes a whole lot of diferent people to make life so interesting...

    some times we do take life way too serious....the good thing about a challenge to win... is the motivation... to get out and actually do something...

    sititng around waiting for the windows of opitunity to open could see them pass by without even taking notice of them....

    the problem with not winning is once you come second it is very difficult to get back into the race...some people never do....i have met a few of them siiting on the side of the road feeling sorry for themselves...when you sit and talk to them they have some great stories to tell...but just dont have the will to get up and run again...and i believe if you cant help yourself nobody can.
  6. adrianh's Avatar
    the problem with not winning is once you come second it is very difficult to get back into the race
    As I see it this problem is caused by black and white definitions such as win/lose and pass/fail.

    My daughters partake in many different sports and activities. To me it is not so much about winning but rather about bettering oneself and also about learning through experience. I do not like to use the terms win vs lose or pass vs fail because learning through experience is about learning from all aspects of the activity. Yes, its great to jump a horse and next time you'll feel more comfortable doing so. Its also not so nice to fall off the horse but therein are lessons too, learn to fall properly without breaking your back or wrists, understand what caused the fall and how to avoid it and get back on when you are comfortable to do so. I do not for one moment believe that the great athletes are great because they want to win against their opponents, I think that they become great because thy want to push themselves as far as they can. For what other reason would an athlete try to better his own world record if it is not to push himself further.

    I cannot measure life in wins and looses (loseses - dunno which is correct). If I had to measure my own life in this manner then I would have to commit suicide right away because I am a fairly average person doing fairly average things (in the greater scheme of things). I do feel joy in my own endevours, mistakes, breakthoughs, teaching and learnings. Just as I feel joy in the same for others. I honestly couldn't care less about who is running what race - for I do not measure myself against others but only against my own ideals....and those ideals are not static, they change and evolve.

    Really great and powerful people facinate me. My brother is one of those people, he is absolutely brilliant, wealthy and reached the top of hs profession, yet he always remained humble and always gives credit to those that assisted him in reaching that position. He never once said that he was running a race or anything like that, he is constatly learning, evolving and tweaking.

    Anyway, I still contend that treating life as a constant race is like being addicted to Cocaine - you feel good for a bit and then you come down again. The more you do it, the harder it gets to get high and the lower you feel afterwards. What did the Greeks say - Moderation in all things.

    Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that one should not be driven and that winning is bad - I am saying that the hard line that is drawn between winning and losing is problematic and causes a great many problems.
    Updated 20-Aug-11 at 02:09 AM by adrianh
  7. Dave A's Avatar
    Seems we all see the pitfalls in a "winning is the only thing" attitude to life.

    Just as well the main theme is - race as if your life depended on it, and that's the big positive I'm taking away.
    Pick your races, and if you're going to do it, give it your best shot.
  8. Sparks's Avatar
    Sorry Mother, I have to say it. You can run all you want , but you will still die. It is the mark you leave behind that will determine whether you were a winner or not. I have forgotten about some I knew that are no longer with us, the more significant ones, even some I never had the pleasure of meeting, I will still take my hat off to.
  9. Mike C's Avatar
    Did you know that Elisha Gray (independently) invented the telephone at the same time as Alexander Graham Bell, but Bell beat Gray in a race to the patent office, by only a couple of hours?
    According to The Book of General Ignorance, a Florentine inventor, Meucci first demostrated a working model of the telephone in 1860. He files a caveat (a kind of stopgap patent) in 1871. 5 years before Alexander Graham Bell's patent. Apparently in 2004 the US House of representatives passed a resolution the "life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged."

    I thought that was rather interesting in the light of your blog because, in spite of the above I had never heard of Meucci and the name that still rings a bell (sorry!) for people when thinking of the telephone, is Alexander Graham Bell.