Acting from a level of joy and devotion

From an early age on we start to compete against one another rather than to collaborate. This creates a tendency to look for opponents rather, than friends and partners. For many of us, life itself becomes much more of a lonely struggle rather than the pleasant and joyful journey it could be.

The survival of the fittest

In a society that focuses on the individual and the competition against others, we are educated in a way to always fight for ourselves. That way we are supposed to become the most toughest, smartest and most successful persons out there, resulting in a great career of our chosen and a high salary.

With the mindset of competition everything becomes a battle and life itself a constant struggle. That struggle is visible in so many areas of life. It is not just in our educational or professional  system, but also in sports, self-development and even in the spiritual progress.

Benefits of the competitive mindset 

In a world where allegedly only the strongest survive, you are up for constant development, which is in itself certainly not a bad thing. It will help you to strive in multiple aspects.

In the fields of exercise it will help you to develop a strong and healthy body. One that can withstand physical stress and crises, one that allows you to go fast and take you where you want to go. Combined with the right diet and nutrition you can lay some groundwork for living a long life, and provide your body and brain with everything they need to produce peak performance.

In your quest for mental excellence this mindset will allow you to develop a great memory and function at a high level. Your brain capacity and the developed focus will allow you to solve complex problems and to do so for many hours a day to perform well in your job.

In your search for answers and spiritual progress the competitive mindset will help to continue the search and to learn about all the mystical schools out there. It might also bring you to various techniques catered to your own journey.

Slow and steady wins the race

Well? Until here it all sounds pretty well you might say. And this sort of mindset does definitely bring advantages.

In our quest to growth however, we have tendency to just do too much. Too many changes in a brief period of time for the purpose of progress.

We change the diet, quit the job to do something else, meditate as often as we can, go visit the yoga class, read books, quit smoking and drinking, oh and those friends of ours might also not be the most conducive to your growth… 

Surely it is good to have a good diet, good routine and a surrounding that supports the inner and outer evolution. But don’t be too ambitious about it. Discipline might do some good, but only to a certain extent. If we are too ambitious, we create yet another filter, yet another version of our Self, that is not our true Self.

We then act once again from the mindset of struggle – of survival of the fittest. We stress ourselves and the well intended changes become a burden for our intellect. Because in order to keep up with all the changes we try to implement and to reach these ambitious goal, every hour, even every minute of the day needs to be well calculated. There is no more room for error, for chance or just for a moment of nothingness.

The created stress certainly does not help implementing new habits. Therefore the key to create the changes you desire lies in consistency. By introducing small bits and pieces, the probability of these changes really becoming habits, greatly increases.

See the beauty and enjoy the ride

It is then the little successes that already bring tremendous joy for they bring you closer to these goals you set. More so these little steps allow some more flexibility, some more playfulness. Because when it comes to learning, stress will not help at all.

Think about it. Who are the best learners? It’s children. And one of their keys is to make a game out of every circumstance and to simply enjoy the act of learning and discovering. They act a from a level of joy rather than stress. They see the beauty in every aspect, are fascinated by the seemingly irrelevant details.

I think there is a great lesson to learn here. Not just about learning and implementing new habits, but from the way of acting itself. To see the beauty and playfulness in things rather than the struggle.

Acting from a level of devotion

When you start to see the beauty in things and realise, that you are but one part of a great family, you may acknowledge, that your path is not just about yourself, but much more about helping others along their path. The motivation for your growth transforms to a desire for other people’s growth as well. You start to act not just from that level of joy, but from the level of devotion. Devotion to the cause of realising your dreams, to the discovery of our Self, devotion to the evolution of others, the collective, devotion to god.

You may then realise that is not necessarily our own doing. For we are but the instruments through which the heavenly love and light flows, allowing us to do what we do. Devoting oneself to that pure essence is the path of evolution. In it we can let go of the ambitious ego, which strives for power. We can let go of that aspect. Instead the ego expands in the cosmic ego, which is free from the earthly power struggles and acts from a level of love and unprejudiced compassion.

When you get up in the morning, as yourself what you can do today to be of service to others. What can you do to put a smile on people’s faces, to help them through their struggles, to help make the world a happier place.

In this path we may free the intellect of its struggles in finding the best way and simply lay out the foundations, suiting to our path. A path without ambition but full of love and light, of service to others, of service to life itself.

Collaboration trumps competition

Individuality is important. It helps us to develop ourselves, discover our potential and distinguish ourselves from our environment. In modern society however there is tendency of an overemphasised individualism – of the idea to compete against others, rather than seeking out help or building something together in the spirit of collaboration.

Where does it come from?

The way of permanent growth might be embedded in Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Most of us have heard the main title of his theory “on the origin of species”, but the subtitle explains it even better: “preservation of favoured races in the struggle of life”, or in other words, the survival of the fittest. That idea, that nature selects those species, which are the toughest, or actually which are the most adopted, to let them evolve. Through this process allegedly men was evolved as well.

There are some flaws to this theory, which are however not subject of this article. It is merely put here to explain, why we might think the way we think.

It starts at a young age

From a young age on we learn to compete against one another. Every now and then there is some teamwork involved, but it does not seem to be emphasised. When we attend school, we are asked to sit quietly most of the time and listen. The teachers ask questions, we raise our hands and get rewarded for the correct answers we give. When it comes to the exams we are on our own again. Only the individual performance is evaluated. From an individual point of view it does not matter, whether you’re classmates fail or not.

It is very similar when you attend college. You might form some learning groups here and there but the educational system itself does not promote collaboration, rather focuses on the individual.

In the job it might evolve to be different. Depending on your corporate environment, you may have to learn to function as a team or a unit. But on the next higher level you are again competing against other companies in an open market.

Even beyond that our society is build on the idea of competition. Whole nations compete against one another in the struggle for political or economical power.

Competition brings advantages but is heavily overrated

The constant competition might help in enhancing specific products. To be able to compete with others, you constantly need to adopt to an ever changing environment. So it seems to add to that swiftness of evolving.

The competition also helps in quickly understanding which ideas work and which don’t. You can have great ideas in your mind, but when you put them out into the real world, driven by a competitive market, you will see really how feasible they are. That way the competition helps to sort out the good from the bad ideas.

But then again one might ask what exactly are good or bad ideas. From the current perspective good means most and foremost one thing – profitable. It does however not include what impact it might have on the life of others. Simply, because we are not raised and incentivised in our education to think about those around us. We are not raised to think about the ecological and social impact of our actions.

The danger of the current paradigm

Now what might have pushed our technological advance, does not seem to be applicable anymore in a world that is deeply connected. Our actions do impact the people next to us and our environment as well.

We are currently facing tremendous ecological challenges. The planet suffers from the exploitation of its resources, the deforestation, the pollution of oceans and natural habitats and the extinction of species.

The challenges are also quite obvious on a social level. Widespread poverty, failing states, and ongoing wars are but some of the prime examples, indicating that the current paradigm is no longer feasible.

These problems appear on such a high scale, that they cannot be solved by just one person, a company or even a nation. They have to be solved by humanity.

Collaboration trumps competition

Each of us comes with unique skills and talents to this life. Talents that can be used to solve specific problems. These skills provide possibility for great ideas and solutions. But sometimes a sort of catalyst might be needed. Another person with another skill to bring forth this aspect of yourself. This is one of the beauties of collaboration. The harmonious promotion of talents within one another.

Beyond the skills it might also be specific fields of knowledge, that alone already bring some insights, but when combined with another faculty offer an even greater understanding.

To solve the complex problems of our current society, we need to draw from different faculties and combine all sorts of talents of individuals to come up with solutions that help each of us. Projects like “the ocean cleanup” are born out of this exact process and can only be formed through the combination of, in this case, experts from the fields of engineering, maritime biology, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and many more. 

To go fast, go alone. To gar far, go together

According to this African proverb, we need to shift to a more collaborative way of thinking. An approach that combines the faculties of all members of a group or a society to come up with the urgent needed solutions for the complex challenges of today.

And after all, isn’t it much more joyful and fulfilling to build and create something together that helps all of humanity, rather than fighting on your own and just for your own good?