Crossroads are a distinctive choice point: a place where one makes decisions, surmounts obstacles, and potentially wins friends and influences people.
We face literally hundreds, if not thousands, of crossroads every day; places where a choice we make today can potentially change the trajectory of our future. Seemly simple choices like deciding to skip breakfast, not speaking our truth with a co-worker or family member, or taking that phone call as we’re driving are just examples. Wasn’t Frost speaking of just such a crossroad in his poem The Road Not Taken?
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
In our personal lives, as well as in the work place, we find ourselves face to face with a crossroads. Where two are more people are present, they often talk of Competition Road leading in one direction and Collaboration Road, headed in another direction. Let’s examine both in more detail from the place of the crossroad or choice point.
Competition is about winning, being first, or more clever and cunning than the next person. It breeds contempt and despair for the loser, as well as harboring feelings of never measuring up. A loser has fear and revenge in their eyes, constantly having their sites locked on the next opportunity to overtake the leader. At the same time, it forces stress for the winner, constantly looking over their shoulder and forever diligent to defend their high perch. In competition, our greedy ego wins; we hold our fist shut, clutching fervently to that which is rightfully ours.
Competition is a throwback to the days when the humans battled the animals, when a we versus them mentality reigned supreme in a dualistic society. Just ask the endangered bald eagle, our national symbol of freedom, who won that competitive game.
There are always winners and losers; it’s just the nature of competition. Eventually the winners will always fall, because we ultimately all die in the end—we can’t take our riches to heaven. Moreover, there is just no escaping dying.
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