Sport, Competition and Fiery Debate

Julia Gillard, when Prime Minister, was asked why politicians need to act the way they do in parliament, to which her defensive reply was that this country has been built on fiery debate, that much had been achieved as a result of the cauldron that we know to be parliament. Competition runs deep in every aspect of our society and is treasured as one of the great forces that leads to innovation, evolution, and change. But perhaps the question that should have been posed to Julia Gillard was “How incredible is it that anything has actually been achieved in parliament DESPITE the fiery debate that goes on?”

For what could be achieved if parliamentarians truly worked together? What if we stopped championing competitive debate as the bastion of truth and allowed ourselves to co-operate in unison towards the greater common purpose? Of course to do so would reveal the fact that underneath competition is the insatiable drive of the self-centred individual, who, devoid of the understanding of their own true worth, is desperate to prop up their own self-esteem at the expense of another.

Of course, competition is championed as the cornerstone of true success, and sport is its greatest monument. Yet, despite the bubble of pretence that we all hold high level athletes in, the fact is that most if not all at the top echelon of sport have truly low self-esteem. Without needing to name them, there are many recent examples of high level sports people, who once retired, have no foundation within themselves to fall back upon, once stripped of that which consumed their whole identity. Their inability to re-integrate into everyday society and their struggles with substance abuse stand as testament to the fact that competition is not character building, but rather character destroying.

Ultimately competition serves neither the victor nor loser to know themselves in essence. The loser is left either crushed in defeat, or returns more determined than ever to seek to understand their self worth as being directly related to the quality of their achievements. The winner, hooked on the temporary elation fed to them by their success – and devoid of the understanding of their own true worth – must eventually return to the struggle of finding solace in their own empty company.

This is why winners must keep on winning to fill the empty void within them, until they are eventually spat out by the system that once made them great. Alas, stripped of what made them who they were, they become but strangers in their own company. Depression often follows those left to walk the quiet streets when no one is there to remind them of their own name by bellowing it out from the grandstands above.

The sad thing is that we falsely believe that true confidence is a foundation that we need to build in our children, when in truth the foundation is already there at birth. In trying to ensure our children grow up with self-esteem, we ironically ensure the erosion of that foundation – which begins in the playground where we foster the child to value themselves by how good they are in comparison to another by the institution we know as sport.

The reason we cannot see it as parents, and coaches, is that we too have had our true foundations whittled away by such ideals as competition – ideals that are further fuelled and exemplified by the fiery debates of our parliamentarians who defend their verbal stoushes as a necessary function of progress, and by those who defend sport as one of the character building pillars of a healthy society.

In the end it is the blind leading the blind, with neither the coach, nor player, nor parliamentarian understanding that all they do under the guise of achievement serves only to whittle away the true confidence one was originally born with.

It is a testament to Serge Benhayon – a former successful tennis coach – that he was able to see through the illusion of all the higher ideals that sport seemingly offered, and furthermore walk away from its sweet allure when all he had once known was the taste of its so called success.

By Adam Warburton – Builder, former athlete, Universal Medicine Student

This blog originated as a comment inspired by the blog: From Ball Game to Race: a Not-So-Healthy Competition

711 thoughts on “Sport, Competition and Fiery Debate

  1. What you share here Adam unearths the root cause of competition which is rampant in all aspects of our society today. Competition is the antithesis of our true purpose being here on earth, which is to work together in harmony, so the sooner we recognise it for what it is and eradicate it from our life,the more harmonious our way of living will become.

  2. Hear hear Adam, the sad thing is we have invested so much in competition being the way to success that we don’t want to see that it’s the pillar of it’s demise.

  3. Competition is no basis for society. When I listen to the debates in the Houses of Parliament it is incredulous that any considered, working decisions are made as all is based on beating ones opponent rather than working together to support all in society. One only has to look at the Brexit discussions to know that negotiating the troubled waters it’s created is going to be one arduous navigation if any navigation is at all possible through this ill advised approach that creates more issues than resolves.

  4. A stunning piece of writing exposing a rot right under our noses… the question is are people ready to see something that has so deeply permeated our society having sold us the illusion of healthy fun or possible success… whilst hiding all the while the dark secret that it like many other pillars in life are designed to erode the true and gorgeous qualities we innately possess.

  5. The seed of all corruption lies in separation. Of us from each other and also within ourselves when we choose to live out of sync to the great universal harmony and order we are born from and never stop being a part of despite our choice to move out of rhythm to this. All this is fuelled by the energy of competition, the seemingly eternal thirst of the self who strives to be bigger and better than the rest until such a time that we tire of the game and all the highs and lows that it delivers and allow ourselves to surrender back to the true Oneness and steadiness we are. It is only when we know our true worth that we value the worth of another and therefore will not settle for anything less than the All that this is.

  6. Yes it would certainly be amazing if, not only politicians, but all of humanity could come to the realisation that by working together and allowing “ourselves to co-operate in unison towards the greater common purpose’, life as we know it today would no longer exist. It would be replaced by a harmonious way of living that at the end of the day is what we all actually want; no need for competition, sport, or what is in my opinion mistakenly considered by Julia Gillard to be necessary “fiery debate”.

  7. Another wonderful expose of something that drives so many people, causes so much separation, and sets us up for a lifetime of driven disappointment… Whereas when children are taught right from the start that each one of us is unique and that we all shine in our own way, humanities path will be so differently defined.

  8. And our society, especially here in Australia, will defend competitive sport till the end, claiming that it is so important for the development of our children to teach them ‘healthy competition, discipline, endurance, resilience etc’. As if it were the very preparation for the ‘struggle of life’.

  9. “What if we stopped championing competitive debate as the bastion of truth and allowed ourselves to co-operate in unison towards the greater common purpose?” – Great question and one that we surely do need to ask if we are to truly move forwards in consideration of us all and not from an impetus of self-aggrandisement.

  10. Competition is based on always going and never stopping, to always become better and better in performance and skill and everything is focused on this one goal all the while we walk away further from our true quality not knowing who we truly are but the figure that we identify with. It is a perpetual cycle we subscribe to that we do not dare to stop as it will leave us empty without, not having learned and being allowed to simply be and express from there.

  11. In our misguided drive to seek a sense of power, we falsely invest ourselves to champion conquering another, believing that if we overpower another we are powerful. All the while this hunger for power drives us to win at all cost, disregarding our bodies and each other, as such cultivating a culture of abuse that is considered permissible. And so the greatest cost is us.This irony is that with all this we are actually in separation to our true power, as at the end of the day without our achievements, wins, accolades or the drive to succeed or overpower another, do we stand in the confidence and at ease with knowing who we are. For are we not in fact missing understanding and exploring that our great strength is already present within us all, and that living from this strength is the truest success? As from this point of settlement we will truly discover that our greatest power comes from our willingness to work together, in equalness alongside each other.

  12. It is interesting to read about sportsmen who have been left devoid of meaning in their lives upon finishing their career, and this in the week where one high profile 37 year old Australian sportsmen died, it seems from suicide, though nothing of this is reported in the media, just words like a ‘sad loss’, and other indirect references to a passing. Why we are so unwilling to address suicide, is it because in this instance it shows that sport is not the great bastion of life it is sold to be and exposes something we don’t want to talk about.

  13. What if politicians did loose the competition and loose the way they speak to each other in today’s society. There is so much complication that comes about by the way they are operating.

  14. We have created a world where we constantly are trying to become something or someone always in the pursuit of the ideals in front of us driven by the belief that we have to achieve and achieve more with the focus on what the world has to offer all the while all the qualities we need to be in this world can be found within ourselves, but as you illustrate clearly here, we erode them by not acknowledging them keeping us in the belief we are less and need to work hard to become more.

  15. That is gorgeous Adam, standing tall and feeling the truth of this makes me wonder why we have slipped (chosen) to a knowing or awareness that made us not see this.. Were we truly blind or just denying? It is very interesting that this truth now written on paper reveals the hidden agenda”s we might have. And so we must return to our knowing of a higher state that shows us all.

  16. How exhausting to way our worth on how well we do things in comparison to another. Sport is but one example of this plague of competition – we do it with our friends, our partners, our parents and sometimes our children. There is a constant worthiness we seek from the outside world that will only take us further away from the equal riches within. In other words, when we connect to what is within, the need to compete or measure ourselves against another can dissolve as we realise that, in fact, we are all equal in being and our expression of that being is unique.

  17. There is a huge difference between competition and cooperation. We all know it and can feel it. It is preposterous that we pretend we don’t know the difference or that we think competition is in any shape or form harmonious and productive to the whole.

  18. I was listening to a politician speak the other day, as he often does, it reverted to a slinging match about the opposition. And like many others, I have witnessed the ‘fiery debate’ that goes on in our hallowed halls.

    Then I got thinking, what if for one month, when a politician spoke, they were not allowed to speak ill of the other side or of each other. They could share the facts but could not bully, denigrate, compete with each other. They would be stumped for words. And the listeners would be in heaven I would suspect, because we would not be hearing the distracting harmful words that we have become so accustomed to.

  19. After reading this I am struck by how our systems are built on the premise that competitions rules. So conditioned are we by this notion that competition breeds success that we believe we owe our very existence to it – Darwinian evolution theory of survival of the fittest. So just posing the question – how have we achieved anything based on this means of existing? is very needed.

    I’ve lived most of my life devoid of true confidence having chosen the path of competing for recognition and approval. This has resulted in behaviours I’ve been ashamed of – not supporting my fellow man, and disregard for mine and others’ well being. Whereas I’ve worked on truly collaborative and supportive ventures where everyone is there to support one another and if one person is struggling then the group steps up to support them to reconnect to their true worth. The quality of what’s produced is amazing and is there for everyone to benefit from it equally.

    Knowing this, as we all innately do, I return to wondering how anything gets done based on a foundation of rivalry and competition especially when a country’s whole parliaments adhere and champion this way of functioning.

  20. Sport, competition and fiery debate but as you have so succinctly put it …. where is the truth in this and in truth what does this leave us with? Little or no foundation and no true understanding, love or evolution. When we see these 3 things for how harmful they actually are it will be a great moment for humanity.

  21. You can know who you are by the achievements that you hold, or by the fact of your inner-heart, which knows you amongst the vastness of life throughout the universe – not confined to this place and its agenda which is not to return to soul but rather to foster and to continue an illusional existence based on what is not true or the truth of who you actually are.

  22. Sport and competition only fills a picture that has been created by believing that we are less than or in someway lacking… it can’t actually ever fill the emptiness but prolong it. The so-called ‘love’ or adoration from fans towards professional sports people and actors is not true and real, but an imposition on the sports or high profile person to be everything for them and if they loose or drop the ball (pun not intended) and don’t live up to that then they are ridiculed and criticized.

  23. Watching sports events or parliamentarians in action in parliament where there are winners and losers, where there may be debate, but that debate is abusive, personal and overall sees one person or group ‘better’ than another and we call this competition the foundation of our society. But we do need to question this as our foundation by looking at our society and how we are travelling. We have skyrocketing levels of illness and disease, including mental ill health; we have rising levels of domestic violence; we have those who work in service of our communities committing suicide at ever higher and alarming rates and we would rather be checking out on our screens than be talking to one another. Abuse begets abuse. It’s time to question the foundation of competition and ask what is competition really doing for our society?

  24. “For what could be achieved if parliamentarians truly worked together?” It seems we don’t dare to feel or think of the potential when we would be truly working together.

  25. Spot on Adam, what indeed could be achieved if parliamentarians worked together towards a unified whole… I can only imagine, as that is something for the future.

    1. the thing about our politicians is that the way our parliament is structured is really just a reflection of society, and so there is no real point in complaining about parliament the way we do without at first addressing how we are in our own homes and in our own relationships, and without at first addressing our own reactions to the world.

      1. Very true, otherwise we are just asking them to do something we haven’t been prepared to do ourselves… all change starts with each of us as individuals, living what it is we are asking another to.

  26. It is very stilling to stop and feel the deep set competition that is in many areas of life, from the elite, famous, politics, to us and how we consider and live our lives. Does this not bring forth to our understanding the importance of halting our own competitive streak? Beginning instead to feel our worth and that in another, which makes it impossible to compete.

    1. This is true, when we really feel our worth and appreciate ourselves, when we see the worth in another and appreciate that then we have created a foundation of togetherness right from the start. a place of equality and a spring board from which to grow each other so to speak.

  27. Absolutely brilliant blog Adam. Many countries spend millions trying to address bullying in schools and youth suicide without an ounce of apology for the fact that parliamentarians are modelling the exact behaviour they say they are trying to ‘stamp out’. It is a world gone mad and Serge Benhayon is one of the few people that truly make sense.

  28. In order to escape the pressure of others constantly being in competition with me at school I started deliberately dumbing down so I wouldn’t be a target anymore. This then lead me down the path of self-loathing because I knew I was not fulfilling my potential by ‘hiding my light under a bushell’ – a phrase from biblical times which just goes to show how long we have been dumbing down and dulling ourself just for an easy, quiet life.

  29. Competition is in truth a convenient way of avoiding truth by creating many different versions of it. Take for example the many political parties that abound our many political systems. They present all fragments and view points which are in truth valid and contain snippets of truth, but never are the whole and complete one unifying truth of all. For if that was so would we even need to be debating at all, over what is so evidently clear as truth for all?

  30. Great article Adam, when we compete against others we seek to make another lesser, and as a result we ultimately destroy them and at the same time we destroy ourselves, maybe it is time that we see competition for what it is.

  31. A powerful article Adam and how great to see this published in the media or in popular magazines – perhaps this would not happen in my lifetime as many would reject this truth you share because they are too invested in the illusion but I also feel many would be inspired and confirmed to finally hear someone voice the truth about sports and competition they have always felt deep within.

  32. This is a powerful piece of writing. A no-holds barred, tell it like it is, expose on something that is deeply (and dearly) held up by our society. I watched a documentary on national swimming and they interviewed former athletes who were “passed their prime” and this line of yours Adam, summed up the interviews – “Alas, stripped of what made them who they were, they become but strangers in their own company.”

    They talked about how ‘lost at sea’ they were after their sporting career ended. I saw so clearly that we (the audience) and the athlete, use each other to get something out of each other, and the results can be devastating. We can pump them up, use them to get Gold or to escape for a few hours from our daily grind of life to watch a match etc…and the athletes get the glory, recognition and fame. When the spotlight is over, we drop them like a hot potato and move onto the next, and then the athletes become ‘strangers in their own company’.

    So this knowledge is in the public sphere, we know this is being done and it is a result of ‘healthy competition’. But it seems we don’t want to truly look it and take responsibility for it. Blogs like this are a good start for discussions.

  33. Competition is so killing off all that is our true essence, it is depleted of love and true joy. What I really take from this blog is how you share that confidence is there from the moment we are born and is, in turn, whittled away on the playground and in sports, I can deeply connect to this fact and see that there is so much more when we just connect to who we truly are, and not let our worth to be determined by the how good we are.

  34. “Ultimately competition serves neither the victor nor loser to know themselves in essence.” What great line, competition just fosters more competition and debate, no working together and certainly not assist each other to see who we truly are in essence.

  35. It’s often proposed that competition brings out the best in people but I would sincerely question this in my experience and think you put forth a great question here – “What if we stopped championing competitive debate as the bastion of truth and allowed ourselves to co-operate in unison towards the greater common purpose?”. In true co-operation we all work together towards one-unified-truth rather than one-upmanship.

  36. Best description and debunking of the activity of ‘competition’ I’ve heard yet. What’s the antidote? Value ourselves beyond belief, know we are already everything and that each of us are connected and equal in essence.

  37. This is wonderfully said Adam – “competition is not character building, but rather character destroying.” I see this play out at work. Much more is achieved when we work together than when we go into competition with each other. The sooner we realize the harm that competition is doing the better for all of us.

    1. The work place is full of one-upmanship behaviour. Just imagine if the competition was dropped and there was full collaboration amongst all the workers? It would transform businesses.

  38. Competition fosters achievement through being better than another. There can be no foundation of what the world and our brothers, truly need within that, for it is all about the individual person feeling they are worth something.

  39. I wholeheartedly agree, I used to to look up to athletes and used to invest a bit of my time living vicariously through exceptionally talented friends of mine, because I believed in the best of the bunch being the be all and end all and meaning of life. I no longer see competition as healthy as I’ve been witness to the before and after of such a way of life. Competition is just an excuse to be better than someone else, when in truth, it’s impossible.

  40. Competition destroys who we are. It takes our attention from within and all the joy and wisdom connection brings to focusing on what other’s think of us according to some measure or other. I then measured myself and others according to some arbitrary yard stick – as a teenager it was how my figure compared to others, how pretty I could make myself or how good at surfing I could be. Today I noticed this when I went for a swim at a lido and there were lots of beautiful people there and I initially felt a little self-conscious.It was very interesting to observe how this happened because I had left connection with myself as I was new there and didn’t know where things were etc. It was like an old habit of walking in to a room apologetic, like the new girl in class where everyone is knowledgeable and so I feel like they have the upper hand – another comparison and evil of competition.

    This is no big deal as I am clued up on this habit and can easily reconnect with my essence and feeling lovely. I appreciate becoming aware of all the seemingly little things I do to say I am ok – so I can do x better than x person, because then I can support myself to reconnect with me and relate with others in a loving way, seeing them for the glorious person that they are and actually enjoying and appreciating other’s company.

  41. You paint a grim picture Adam of what happens when all the glory of winning has subsided, along with the crowds cheering and chanting their names. It must be a bitter pill to swallow to suddenly find yourself sitting on the shelf without the attention and the recognition for being the best, because at the end of the day there is always someone who has the latest equipment that helps them to be that little bit faster or stronger. What really stands out is how we as a society are quick to move onto the next sporting super star.

    1. I agree Julie, only it is not a picture that is the truth of it. Exactly the same as people who get fame from reality tv to go from having everyone know their name to then being completely forgotten about.

  42. I often wonder how anything gets done in Parliament when so much competitive debate goes on, the question of which party gains the upper hand dominates more than the issues. Sometimes it seems that those being represented, their concerns and needs, are not understood or truly considered but used as fuel to burn the opposition. If they all came together to find ways of moving forward and bringing through true support for those who need it, then imagine how communities could grow and flourish.

  43. Competition and it’s sidekick ‘comparison’ not only set people apart but they set people up against each other and hold every element that is in opposition to ‘True Brotherhood’ – They are both infect relationships with and foster poison.

  44. I never understood sport as a child and hated being forced to participate. I couldn’t see the point, and now I know why – there really isn’t one. Exercise we can readily achieve quietly on our own; true team work in projects with far more purpose.

  45. The amount of corruption in sport, which seems to be readily exposed these days, speaks to the hollow at the heart of it.

  46. I must admit to disliking the way politicians put others down in order to make themselves look good. It doesn’t work and the people, (us) that they are supposed to be serving miss out whilst they compete with one another in the popularity stakes.

  47. Adam, what you are saying here about true confidence being in children from the day they are born is so true therefore it is not about building confidence in children but more about nurturing the essence in children so that they feel that they can just be themselves and express from who they are.

  48. Competition is often championed as something that brings out the best in people but I would certainly question this too and propose that we can bring out the best in each other by working together for the purpose of greater harmony for all rather than pitting ourselves against one another.

  49. I love this blog Adam. To see the ridiculous amounts of money footballers/athletes are paid compared to the salary our keyworkers (nurses, fireman, policemen, doctors, teachers, etc) get paid just shows currently where our values lie as a society. And yes if governments spent zero time arguing and more time working together all would see the benefits. Striving for identification and recognition or using crushing another to make ourselves feel better gets us absolutely nowhere. I feel you gave the game away here when you said ‘false confidence’ in that, particularly with sport, this is exactly what it is … false and not coming from a solid foundation of self-worth and self-love within but instead looking for a score or recognition from another to ‘give’ us this. And yes an absolute testimony to Serge Benhayon for walking away from a successful career as a tennis coach because he could feel and see the complete illusion of it all.

  50. I attended a state government run community meeting once and was appalled at the way parliamentarians spoke to one another and the fierceness of public debate. There was no hesitation in tossing slurs, nasty innuendo, it was no better than a low-level schoolyard brawl minus the fisticuffs. A member of the public spoke up about the concerning nature of the so-called debate to be told by our Premier at the time, a woman no less, that there was nothing wrong with ‘fiery debate’ and in fact, the Australian democratic way embraced it.

  51. It is such illusion to think that competition inspires us – it does nothing but pit us against each other and give us another means to measure and compare. We come from Brotherhood and competition simply isn’t a part of that.

  52. Yes, it is interesting that we think we need to learn to be confident when as little children we are super confident in all that we do and we do not question ourselves but simply explore and are ourselves.

  53. Competition leads to separation and so destroys brotherhood, ‘underneath competition is the insatiable drive of the self-centred individual, who, devoid of the understanding of their own true worth, is desperate to prop up their own self-esteem at the expense of another.’

  54. I love the point about how we knock out what is already natural to us – our innate knowing that we are already enough in order to ‘build’ confidence as if it was something we didn’t have before, only this time, the renovation comes with bells and whistles, all of which is an illusion compared to that absoluteness of what we came here with.

  55. Thank you Adam – for exposing the lies – equally as Serge does – as those who have expericenced the evil and want to break through – can by standing up and sharing the awareness they have received.

  56. How much could be done and seen through if we could only get out of our own way. If there wasn’t opposing side of the fence and true unity then most of what we see would cease to exist. We think these things like competition or the fiery debate are pillars in our society and yet when they are slightly exposed or looked into you can see there is nothing to stand on and so they are a road block to our true community and they only seek to entertain us. Things should be much much simpler, you look at a community and read what they are truly needing and support them to move there. Universal Medicine and articles from students like this are that read and support and are moving us all to where the sun shines bright and under that we truly work together to bring this whole thing to an end.

  57. Competition does not foster one to know themselves in their essence. Surely its time for us all to start valuing ourselves and knowing who we truly are is amazing, that we don’t have to prove ourselves or go against another, we are all equal in essence.

  58. Competition is not something that grows us, rather it is something that keeps us small. True collaboration grows us and the recognition that we each bring a piece of the puzzle that is equally valuable.

  59. To address the disharmony in our world caused by fiery debate we would first need to address where this occurs in our own lives i.e. where we get incensed at the drop of a hat.

  60. ‘competition is not character building, but rather character destroying.’ So very true and yet our whole societies are built on the value of competition, and we see sport as one arena of this, and added to this is our idea that sport is a good thing but in our pursuit of sports excellence and indeed excellence in all areas of life we ignore the fact that deep in us we are already all we need to be, we abandon us and until we address this we continue to look out there for that next achievement.

  61. Like so many ills in society today, competition is rife and falsely perceived as natural – the survival of the fittest – in all aspects of life. In perpetuating this illusion we keep ourselves far from what we are truly capable of. It is only through open collaboration, the appreciation of each other’s amazing innate qualities that are equal in value and never less, more, or better than another, that we truly shine. Great feats are built from the will of brotherhood which underpins the teamwork we all yearn for. We know this in our bones. And yet we have subscribed to a lie that competition is what makes things happen. It makes things happen at the mere functional level with us capped in the process.

  62. ‘underneath competition is the insatiable drive of the self-centred individual, who, devoid of the understanding of their own true worth, is desperate to prop up their own self-esteem at the expense of another.’ This is what we all need to be reminded of – when we let ourselves be honest of this fact, and lay ourselves bare, we can then open up to the true inspiration that comes from working alongside each other in appreciation of what everyone brings. But this can only take place when we have that basis of appreciation for ourselves first.

  63. These are such great points you make Adam. Competition is championed as the great driving force of evolution yet we look at the world, either on the global national scale with the wars and famines, etc., or at the individual level of illness, disease, mental health conditions and suicides, etc., and surely it is obvious it is not working? Similarly the obviousness of working together in times of national disasters is plainly shown to be the way forward. Why is humanity so stupid tokeep repeating an ideal that is only bringing further disaster?

  64. Believing we need fiery debate to achieve things is like believing we need competitive sport or war to have comradeship (a contorted and separative version of brotherhood that is natural for us all). Your words sum up the harm of competition beautifully. “Ultimately competition serves neither the victor nor loser to know themselves in essence”.

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