The End of the Competitive Edge

Jul
15
2011
by
Lynne McTaggart
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0
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For most of the last 10 days, I’ve been on the phone.  On the other end of the line has been virtually every important thought leader in the human potential movement: Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson, Michael Beckwith, Marci Shimoff, Steven Covey, Howard Martin, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Jean Houston, Lisa Nichols, Bobbi DePorter, Eric Pearl, Arjuna Ardagh, Gay and Katie Hendricks, Don Beck, James O’Dea, Arielle Ford, Janet Attwood, Bryan Hubbard, Katherine Woodward Thomas. 

You name them, I spoke to them this week.  And I’m carrying on next week, too.

For most of the last 10 days, I’ve been on the phone.  On the other end of the line has been virtually every important thought leader in the human potential movement: Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson, Michael Beckwith, Marci Shimoff, Steven Covey, Howard Martin, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Jean Houston, Lisa Nichols, Bobbi DePorter, Eric Pearl, Arjuna Ardagh, Gay and Katie Hendricks, Don Beck, James O’Dea, Arielle Ford, Janet Attwood, Bryan Hubbard, Katherine Woodward Thomas.

You name them, I spoke to them this week.  And I’m carrying on next week, too.

There’s got to be a better way

My question to each of every one of them was, essentially, how to save the world in the midst of the crises hitting us from every direction.  I also wanted to know how we re-establish fairness in our own lives, in our relationships, in the world.  As you know, unfairness, in my view, is killing our countries and our planet and our souls.

I invited each of them to complete the following sentence:  there’s got to be a better way.  To run businesses, to have relationships, to love each other, to bring up our children, to experience spirituality, to heal ourselves and our neighborhoods and our country (particularly my country – America) – indeed, to heal the planet.

As I wrote in The Bond: ‘At some point we’ve torn up the social contract and forgotten how to come together. Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten how to be.’  

So, I asked them, does it have to be like this? And if not, how are we supposed to be?  How do we stop operating according to an outdated set of rules? How do we recover The Bond, which is our birthright? How do we surrender to our natural state, which only and always seeks wholeness?  What are our tools – for ourselves, in our relationships, in our neighborhoods, at work -  for a new world? 

And then over five hours, in a recording studio, I asked myself the same questions.

Synergistic pairings

Some of my guests were clustered into interesting pairings: Marci Shimoff with Howard Martin; James O’Dea with Don Beck, two peace-makers who work in hotspots around the world, each with their own unique perspective and toolkit; Gay and Katie Hendricks with Arielle Ford; Michael Beckwith with Eric Pearl, Bobbi DePorter, who created tools for children to recover values, with Lisa Nichols, who works with teens — so that we might benefit from their synergistic thoughts. 

Each had an important perspective on how to recover The Bond.  

Marci Shimoff and Howard Martin talked about simple techniques that help you to avoid our default competitive state and remain in a state of love all the time – and for no reason.  

Gay and Katie Hendricks and Arielle Ford examined how to change the way we relate to individuals, particularly our partners, so that we can, as I put it in The Bond, ‘surrender to wholeness.’  Both talked about the biggest problem of our times – our tendency to view relationships as adversarial with a perpetrator and a victim, and how a simple change of perspective will honor the whole.

James O’Dea talked about how healing wounds on both sides through deep dialogue and truth-sharing is now replacing negotiation – another adversarial position – in conflict resolution and peacemaking.  As in The Bond, Don Beck described how ‘superordinate goals’ — working together on a common goal — will bridge the deepest divides, and how he is using the goal of creating ‘the Hong Kong of the Middle East’ – to heal the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Bobbi DePorter and Lisa Nichols discussed the fact that cooperative learning and an emphasis on deep core values (like teamwork and integrity) are producing better results in schools than competition.  

Communal efforts

Barbara Marx Hubbard spoke of the power of crisis and how it is giving birth to the emergence of small communities –good old fashioned neighborhoods wedded to collaboration as a tool for survival.  

Jack Canfield revealed that the most successful companies with the highest profits these days avoid organizational structures that foster competition between employees (such as sales bonuses and the like) and make decisions — and share profits — based on collaborative effort. 

Bryan Hubbard – my husband, who has just released a new book, Time-Light (www.time-light.com), focused on why we are able to experience rare moments of unity – as we did during  9/11 – but soon revert back to our default position of naked tooth and claw — and how to change that.

And I asked myself:  what tools would enable us to accomplish four things:  to take a larger perspective on the world than just our own, to connect better and deeper in our relationships, to revitalize our neighborhoods and to create a greater purpose for ourselves than just getting and spending.

The outdated tool

What struck me most about every single discussion is that every one of these wise bodies – and the discussions and the tools offered by each of them were just extraordinary – signaled the death of competition as the framework for our lives.  

Competition as the essential engine of the industrial world has had its day. It is now an outdated tool in every regard - from business, education, relationships, to the workings of neighborhoods and countries. 

In fact, as their evidence suggested, competition is probably now the greatest impediment to progress. Students, employees, managers, business owners, neighbors all produce better results when they work together in collaborative ways. 

Schools that make use of collaborative learning, where A students work side by side with C students, produce better results than does streaming children by ability.  Collaborative solutions at work consistently outperform companies built on teams whose performance is pitted against each other.  

As Canfield described, Microsoft, which was built with silos of competitive groups, created a climate of fear that hampered innovation. 

Ethnic or political groups work better when they don’t try to negotiate a truce but come together and speak deeply about their own values —  at which point connections and solutions naturally evolve. 

For several centuries we have operated in every regard according to a particular mindset – that we help the whole of society best by looking out for number 1. It has taken a series of crises for us all to finally understand the error in that thinking and to realize that the tool for our rebirth lies in reframing the idea that winning is about winning over someone else. 

Survival of the fittest: R.I.P.

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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