Saturday, April 5, 2008

You Are A Winner!

You Are A Winner!

No, I am not from Publisher's Clearing House. I just mean that of course you have to be a winner, since in society today there are no such things as losers. Either everyone who competes is celebrated for having done so, or you can't tell who's winning because nobody's keeping score. The world is so concerned these days about building and maintaining self-esteem that it forgets to train people how to compete and succeed. I guarantee you that these are skills that they are going to need at some point in their life.

When did this happen to us? I mean no one used to love competing more than Americans, whether it was sports, game shows, or reality shows. It often seems in fact, that we can't get enough of it (have you looked at a TV schedule lately). When life leaves the confines of the TV set however, we seem to abandon that spirit of competition. This is especially true where the raising of our children is concerned.

  • We create T-ball so that pitchers won't compete against batters and so that hitters can get hits and feel good about themselves.
  • We eliminate Dodgeball from our schools as heartless, even in concept, to keep from hurting the feelings of those eliminated by the nature of the game.
  • We eliminate gifted programs and grades from our schools, to avoid the hurt feelings caused by low academic performance.
  • Teachers no longer use red pens or pencils to correct papers, as the harsh color might impact the student's self-esteem.
  • We give trophies to everyone who competes in children's sports leagues, because "everyone is a winner" in some way.

... and what do we get when those kids grow up

  • Employers must send their HR (Human Resource) staff to "sensitivity training" classes to learn how to maintain the self-esteem of this latest generation of employees.
  • Employers can no longer give employees accurate reviews which might create negative self-esteem. Nor can they reprimand them for late arrival or sub-standard performance, lest they crush their fragile egos.
  • Karaoke bars and "American Idol" feed these egos nightly, telling us that everyone is a star. (Then again, Bob Dylan was a star, and he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.)
  • WE create a credit crisis in this country by telling everyone that they are good enough to own a big TV (HD, no less), a big car, and a big house, whether they have earned the money for these things or not.

This non-stop ego reinforcement has created generations of praise-crazed, ego-centric non-performers. These lotus eaters are young people raised on increasing doses of ego support, and who have over their lifetimes become addicted to it. Any reductions in either the frequency or the amount of this positive reinforcement fix causes acute withdrawal symptoms that run from mild melancholy to full-blown depression. Like the junkies that they have become, not only do they require increasing doses of this behavior to feed their habit, but they cannot tolerate anything that might get in the way of it, or in any way burst their self-esteem bubble.

Without bowing completely to the Theory of Evolution, I will tell you that I believe that only the strong survive. No matter how much the current child rearing process or our nanny state would like to protect us from life, sooner or later the realities of everyday existence must be dealt with. Believe me when I tell you that when given the chance to do so, Nature will find a way to thin the herd. If you want you or your kids to be one of the ones left standing in the end, you had better start training them to compete for the privilege (not right) of living. Think I'm kidding, check out this 60 Minutes story:

Let me leave you with a couple of thoughts:

- Have you ever noticed that mass murderers and sociopaths seem to have no self-esteem problems?
I'm just sayin' ...

- Many years ago Gilbert & Sullivan wrote something for the Broadway stage that is just as true today as it was then, "If everybody's somebody, then no one's anybody".


Chad Quigley said...

I'd like to argue with ya Tim, but I just can't compete ;-)

Tim Higgins said...

It's OK Chad, cause you're a winner already.