Competition And Collaboration As Driving Forces In Human Evolution

Throughout the history of mankind, social competition has been deemed as a driving force in human evolution, as well as one of the fundamental pillars in structuring individual interactions and communities. However, considering our changing society as well as the complex and interconnected challenges the world is facing today, both political leaders and international organizations are engaging more of an emphasis on balance and mutual participation, while acknowledging that, in order to achieve sustainable development around the world, perhaps collaboration should be placed as one of the core objectives.

Undoubtedly, a healthy competitive attitude may provide individuals with a wide range of benefits, including the motivation and creativity required to work hard, meet challenges, aim further, and reach for success. According to Ashley Merryman, co-author of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, “competition fuels creativity and even improves the quality of the work produced”. She also declares that the aptitudes that make you a strong competitor —such as the willingness to push boundaries or trust one's instincts — are those highly required for both innovation and progress.

Nonetheless, some experts believe that 'precisely because we are so immersed in it, competition can easily escape our notice'. Being over-competitive may lead us — rather than continuing to develop our own skills — to push ourselves extremely hard in order to become winners. This hypercompetitive attitude may certainly generate considerable negative costs, such as the loss of community and sociability, as well as an increase of selfishness, hostility, aggressivity, and obsessional thinking. Similarly, there is extensive literature linking highly competitive natures with certain adverse effects on mental health, including social anxiety and depression. Given that these individuals tend to have more difficulties accepting failure and channelling their losses, they are more prone to become heavily dependent on external sources of validation, as well as to show social isolation patterns and generate high-stress situations not only for themselves, but for those they interact with as well.

Cooperation, on the other hand, is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality and solidarity, and thus, requires individuals to coordinate their efforts, share resources and knowledge, and work together towards particular goals. Certainly, working co-ordinately is believed to become potentially effective in terms of problem-solving and productivity. Individuals can provide multiple perspectives necessary to comprehend the different parts involved in a given conflict, as well as force one another to be more dynamic and elaborate a stronger shared task. Accordingly, companies worldwide are increasingly reshaping their organization’s structure to become more team-based, under the premise that having a collaborative work environment is key to their business success.

Furthermore, recent researches have also revealed that, in contrast to competitiveness — which tends to dissolve self-confidence, breed envy, and spread self-doubt among its members — cooperation fosters empathy, particularly in children, leading them to have better communication, greater trust both in others and in themselves, and develop higher tolerance for those they consider different.

Taken together, these findings suggest that our future largely lays on our capacity for cooperation, rather than competition. Certainly, opposite to the UN Millennium Development Goals of 2000, the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “has assumed a shared responsibility, in partnership with all other actors in society, to accomplish such goals”. Therefore, given this scenario, it seems that in order to ensure a better and more sustainable future for all, it is now the time to truly embrace participation, to cultivate collaboration and to bring a vast variety of sectors together. We all have a role in this battle towards human prosperity and join forces might be the only way to compromise.

10 October 2020
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now