The Silent Competition

New silent competition

The grass always looks greener on the other side, it is a fallacy of  reasoning – Ololade Ajekigbe


Ever run into an old friend and observed them sizing you up? And when I say sizing up, I don’t mean the long-time-no-see kind of sizing up. I mean the Is-she-looking-good kind. It happens all the time. 2 people meet after a considerable amount of time, and both of them automatically start checking out whose clothes look more expensive, who drives the bigger car, who appears to be more successful. Somewhere in our subconscious we feel the need to compete with one another. We are scared that our contemporaries will do better than us, so we work harder and keep a tab on their lives to make sure we are at par or are even doing better than them

Let me say that this competition is usually among close friends, colleagues and extended family. Sometimes, It is not about who has a higher paying job or drives a bigger car. It could be who got married first, who had kids first, whose husband or wife is more handsome or prettier. It’s interesting how we are constantly competing with one another albeit silently. Of course, no one will admit this, it can only be observed from the body language.  2 old friends meet, and after exchanging pleasantries and doing some catching up, one is thinking… “She may have a better job, but I am married and she’s not,” or “She is a single mother, while I have a husband.” And the other is also thinking  “She has 2 girls, but I have a balance of both genders,” For the guys it may be… “Even though he was more brilliant in school, I am richer now.” We look for what is seemingly lacking in others to validate ourselves.

I didn’t get a job until almost a year after my NYSC.  I can remember starting to feel frustrated sitting at home doing nothing, especially each time I ran into a school mate and they told me they now worked at so and so place. I would feel bad and wonder why I hadn’t been able to secure a job even after writing and passing a number of tests. In my quest to get a job, I spoke to a couple of people, and I’ll never forget what one of them said to me. He said “Lolade, I know it may seem as if your mates are ahead of you now, but don’t worry you will find something to do soon and see that in 5 years, almost everyone will be on the same level more or less. There won’t be much difference, of course someone will drive a bigger car, someone will have a better job, but you won’t run into a friend or school mate and be ashamed of yourself or your achievements.” God bless that man because his words came to pass!

Some friends ask questions about your life, not because they are genuinely concerned for you, rather they want to be sure you are not doing better than them. Sometimes, the silent competition evolves into a cold war which finds people trying to outdo one another, a regular occurrence in the work place, where people employ different tricks to get promoted ahead of their colleagues even it means doing some backstabbing. We forget that each person has their own personal race. Even identical twins won’t tow the same path in life. We are all born differently, uniquely, with different purposes in life, so why should I want to be like my friend when I know nothing about their challenges? And maybe if I knew I would be happy I wasn’t in their shoes. I have learnt (and I am still  learning) to wait for my time. You are your only competition, the sooner you realize this, the better for you.

38 Replies to “The Silent Competition”

  1. Lolo dearie, dis made me laugh expecially ” ‘Some friends ask questions about your life, not because they are genuinely concerned for you, rather they want to be sure you are not doing better than them”. Kai, this is so true n funny. We better focus on empowering ourselves positively than unnecessary competition cos all fingers are not equal.

    Ng Anwuli

    1. Abi now Anwuli. it is true…let’s just run our individual races and try to make something out of our lives, instead of bothering about the next person. Thanks dear.

  2. It would take a lot for people to change their mentality of trying to compete with others to show off rather.than running their own race and doing things in their own way. One thing I believe is this, if you do things your way regardless of the high competition, you will stand out and people will be in awe of you. Such can be said of michael jackson who empoyed a music style and brand no one to date can mimic. The result of such uniqueness is the ‘thriller’ album that has sold over 750 million copies to date. The highest ever. It will take a miracle for any artist both present and future to break that mark. All happened because MJ stood out from the rest.

    1. Very true words Kunle. There are over 7 billion people in the world, and each person has a unique trait and personality. Thank you.

  3. GBAM! U have said it o. Some people will ask about u not cos they are concerned or interested but cos the wanna know if they r doing better than u.

  4. “The silent competition”……hmmmn…….Only the shallow minded fail to see that life goes beyond that. It takes great wisdom to view life differently, understanding that we run the race of life individually and differently.
    As long as we can afford d basic things of life and above all, we are healthy and happy, we have every reason to give thanks with a grateful heart.
    Take a second to think about this……does anyone want a trade of good health and genuine love for all the money in d world? Certainly not me.
    Great piece baby sister. I give it up to u.

    1. Hey Bibi! I certainly don’t want to trade good health for money or any other material possession for that matter! Thanks for the support sis!

  5. well written lolo but most people dont understand that delay is not denial,people have very funny tendencies but the end definitely justifies everything, good one lolo,more grease

      1. Hmmmm,Lolade this is so so true! There is nothing like being at peace with yourself in this life ooo! That’s one thing I have realized. Anybody can think whatever they wish or assume whatever! Unnecessary headache that we give ourselves sometimes. It’s such a pity!

        1. Honestly, being at peace with oneself is the best thing as long as you know you are on the right path. Thank you Id.

  6. There is no competition in destiny. Run your race and wish others well, as “you” are naturally ahead of anyone that sees you as a competition…
    Very well put together lolade.

  7. Wahala dey o! In summary, we keep chasing, chasing and chasing. Then suddenly one day. . Its poof! We drop 6ft underground and its all done. And if there is one thing you have stated correctly Lolo; its the fact that we all do this albeit silently and sometimes unconciously. This piece is truly a nudge and should be dwelled on. Thanks for this write up. . You’ve done it again!

  8. That’s the way we humans are wired. Silent competition has always been in existence, since generations past. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about it.
    Great post again Lolade

  9. Hmmnnn…!!! well spoken & on point. Your intro gave me a hint that I will have a good read. Thanks for sharing. I will like to point out from the parable of the servants whom the masters gave gifts while he travelled. The scriptures say they were all given different talents (5, 2 & 1) according to their abilities. Important to note that God gives to every1 based on his/her ability and the one the works it out recieve more.
    I’m sure that your working out your writing skills on this blog will earn you more – improved skills, precision, audience/traffic and so much more.
    Keep it going sis. The clouds are gathering.
    Thanks again.

  10. Competition is bound to happen but Live ur life, I live my life, we are running different races and going to different places.God help us to fulfil destiny and not run some else’s race/destiny. well said Lolo.

  11. Thanks for airing your thoughts on this platform! I particularly like the statement you used in closing, “you are your only competition, the earlier you realize this the better ” God bless you dear.

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