The concept of winning is typically associated with a corresponding loser, which is also connected with the philosophy of competition and the belief that competition is universally good.

Why is that?

Why is it that we have taken as a given that competition is good even when it produces a corresponding number of losers to winners. If we value people, doing the right thing, loving thy neighbor, being charitable, and yes, being in balance, then wouldn’t we endeavor to build our world view around a philosophy that sees little to no losers?

I’ve been reading about the concept of a person’s “worldview” and that it’s more than a belief system in that it’s about how a person relates to the world and sees themselves in relation to it. Once we formulate our worldview it becomes a part of how we think, and thereafter information to the contrary of our worldview is most often given little to no serious consideration; in one ear and out the other.

I’m making this point because the philosophy of competition is so engrained within our worldview and how we think that we tend to never question it. The concept of the “win-win” came about some thirty years ago and was quickly and widely accepted, but more as a tactic for addressing conflict, not necessarily as an invitation to shift our concept of how we relate to one another.

What if winning means we all win?
What if winning means that by me winning I’ll be better able to help you win?
What if winning means that when you win I’m exuberantly happy for you?
What if winning results in happiness and joy that is shared between us?
What if winning means we have the lifestyle we want while supporting a healthy eco system?
What if winning means that by achieving fairness and justice in the world that we grow into a space in which we can actually be compassionate for those who bring harm to others and to Mother Earth?
What if winning means there are no losers?

I’ve never been much for watching sports to begin with, but have grown more adverse to it over the years as the behavior of athletes seems to deteriorate: the end zone dance, the temper tantrums on the field, the doping scandals, the hyper focus on the celebrity athletes, and the tendency to place far too much importance in who wins, not whether people actually enjoyed the game. Can we not also celebrate the game losers who played with passion and dignity and never gave up?

Remember the story of Dorando Pietri, the 1908 Italian Olympic Marathon runner who was disqualified for being helped across the finish line after collapsing three times in his final lap around the stadium track. He lost the race, but won the hearts people across the world. He was an underdog, an unheard of five-foot-two-inch-tall pastry chef, and yet he crossed the finish line first and nearly died of exhaustion.

If we can celebrate the game for what it is (entertainment), and celebrate our work for what it is (self expression), and celebrate the players for how they play the game (character), then can we not also celebrate the effort for what it is (courage). In such a light, are we not all winners?