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Life as a non-competitive person in a competitive world

Life-as-a-non-competitive-person-in-a-competitive-world

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I don't understand why everything has to be a competition to the death.

It is no secret that living in Singapore is like a pressure cooker that puts everyone in a rat race.

Working adults are always working toward their next promotion. Students are constantly fighting for coveted spots in schools and scholarships. Even foetuses in the womb are involved in a race as their parents start sourcing for the best kindergartens even before they are born.

Don't get me wrong, competitiveness makes for a great source of motivation, especially for people who excel in such environments. But what about the rest of us who were born without a single competitive bone?

Life-as-a-non-competitive-person-in-a-competitive-world
BEING COMPETITIVE JUST ISN'T IN ME…UNLESS THERE IS A SHOE SALE.
PHOTO CREDIT: AZRA/YOUTH.SG

I don't mean to brag but since secondary school, I have been pretty consistent grade-wise and I don't stress too much over my studies. And as long as I'm satisfied with myself, I don't quite give a damn about whether anyone is doing better or worse than I am. 

Seriously, the day before an exam, I can be found in my closet in deep thought over what to wear, rather than at my desk with my face glued to the books.

However, a lot of people viewed me as competition. I have had friends come up to me saying: "I am going to make it my goal this year to beat you in the class ranking!"

My response: "Great! Good for you! I hope you get to do that!"

Their response: *jaws dropped with a baffled face*

I honestly do not like competitions at all. And while I am constantly trying to improve on myself, I have literally no time and energy to be worrying about what others are doing. 

Life-as-a-non-competitive-person-in-a-competitive-world
SOME PEOPLE ARE SO COMPETITIVE THAT THEY WILL FIGHT WITH YOU OVER ANYTHING.
PHOTO CREDIT: ANISAH/YOUTH.SG

Being in competition with each other creates a divide. I know this is an exaggeration, but sorry "Hitler"s of today's competitive world, but I am not comfortable with the idea of segregation or treating people differently just because of their scores. And I'm not only talking about bad scores.

How many of us have had to lie and say we did not do well so to not become a target because of our success?

And it's not only the classmates who are obsessed with and encouraging the competition. When I was doing well for math in secondary school, everyone including my teachers started to have high expectations that I would ace the final year paper. The pressure was palpable and I detested it. 

I down-right hated it so much I actually failed the exam on purpose. While I had consistently scored at least a 70 out of 100 all year, I instead made myself get a 49. Talk about great math, huh? 

I just didn't enjoy being put up on that pedestal or a benchmark for my friends to take a shot at me. This isn't The Hunger Games after all.

Life-as-a-non-competitive-person-in-a-competitive-world
I DON'T DO WELL WHEN PEOPLE HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ME.
PHOTO CREDIT: BRANDON/YOUTH.SG

Even in my early polytechnic days, I did not want to disclose my GPA because I didn't like my friends and classmates developing this misconception of who I was – People always think that those with good grades are goody goodies who they cannot be friends with.

Like hello? I too skip classes when it is terribly boring. I too watch a ton of cat videos and the "who wants lasagna" vine during lectures. 

But once everyone knows you're good at something, it's as though their perceptions will be forever changed of you for the worse. You become this unapproachable person because others simply can't relate to you. 

To all my fellow non-competitive peeps, it is okay to feel this way. Just know that you are not alone, my advice is to seek solace with a fellow non-competitive friends!

TEASER AND BANNER CREDIT: AZRA/YOUTH.SG