Saturday, October 28, 2017

Winners and Losers

I've been thinking of the Yankees’ firing of Joe Girardi. I was really surprised by that news not just because I think he is a great baseball manager but because it feels like our culture has become one of winners and losers with nothing in between. 

You only need to look as far as the White House for this cultural shift. How many times has Trump used the terms “winning” and “losers” not just in his campaign speeches but in his tweets and off-the-cuff remarks. 

Our social media perpetuates this culture with the one-upmanship of sharing our stories of whatever we’re winning at that particular day. It’s good to share. I’m a sharer by nature. I just wonder if people who don’t share are holding back because they feel that they can’t compete. Like if their day isn't as “winning” as others, they therefore must be losers.

The sports fans are this culture to the n’th degree. Boston has become this way particularly with the many titles from all of our local pro teams in the recent past. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t expect teams we patronize to perform at their best, but we also wrap ourselves up in their winning and losing as if their loss makes us losers too. And their winning, though we've really had very little to contribute, makes us champions as well.

This may be my over-thinking of a simple change in baseball management. But my concern is that we feel that by not grabbing the top prize we somehow have something to be ashamed of. And no one would value us if we don't produce that level of success consistently.

We live in a very competitive country. The pressure we put on ourselves, our employees, and even sometimes our children has created a national anxiety that is palpable. The origins of this competitiveness is an entire book in itself and one that I think should be written. I think it's bundled with our original fight for independence but has now morphed into our need to maintain global domination and be perceived as the greatest country on earth.

The national culture is found in everything from the arts to corporate expectations to governing dynamics. We can't escape it. 

It makes me sad to think that the foundation of our society is slowly focusing more on who wins than who contributes. It takes each of us with our own unique gifts to move the world in a direction of kindness and self-sustainability. We can't all be superstars or leaders. To start, we can recognize that personal value shouldn't be based on the number of checks in a win column created by someone else.

We win in many different ways all day long. For me, just getting out of bed with my illness is a huge win. For others juggling work, child-raising, and paying bills on time is a win.

I would hate to see us lose sight of the ability of all of us to be winners in our own way.