Co-operative Competition

In our modern age, competition is sometimes praised, though more often feared or condemned. On the one hand we have the old adage that "competition is the life of trade," while on the other we hear such negative expressions as "ruinous competition." "destructive competition," and the like.

Anyone who would take his rightful place and prove his progress in the business or professional world is in need of knowing the true sense of competition, if he would defend himself from the mesmerism of the destructive meaning often attached to it. What, then, is the root meaning of the word? It comes from two Latin terms, com or cum, meaning "with" or "together," and petere, meaning "to seek" or "to strive." Competition, then, does not necessarily imply that striving to outdo or to surpass another which is widely assumed to be its only meaning; rather it may be justly considered as a constructive and joyous striving together toward a common goal. In such striving, conflict is replaced by cooperation; and in so far as the concept of striving for the mastery remains, it may well be viewed not so much as an eager effort to surpass others, who are regarded as opponents, but as a consistent endeavor to better the quality and the quantity of one's own achievements.

The Spirit of Friendliness
March 4, 1944

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