Common Goals as Competitors
Respectful opposition and rivalry without division
This week’s newsletter is going to be short since the week was long. Unless you've been asleep for the last few days, the presidential election in the United States was held, and only until recently, we got clarity on the winner. It was a stressful week for me and I gave myself a personal dispensation of tracking no calories this week simply to get through it.
Exhausted from a long work and news week, I took a three-hour nap on Saturday, though I think at that point it’s simply “sleeping.” Upon awaking, I heard the sounds of people screaming and honking their horns yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t sure if I was in a dream state. Did the Lakers win another championship? No. It was people's reaction to the media outlets calling the election and I took the largest exhale of my life.
It honestly felt like the end of Return of the Jedi. I expected to go out in the streets of Santa Monica to dance with Ewoks, and as I gaze in the distance, the force ghosts of John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would appear (John McCain in the edited special editions many years later).
In the midst of a pandemic, civil unrest, economic downturn, the tumultuous division of humans has never been so highlighted. In industries like sports and technology, competition, and being pitted against one another can foster innovation, often bringing out the best of us. It can also bring the worst out of us.
President-elect Joe Biden said yesterday:
"It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again. And to make progress we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies."
Don't get it twisted, some people will always stand for hatred and segregation, though I generally agree with Biden's sentiments.
Chuck Klosterman wrote a piece called "The Importance of Being Hated" which highlights having a nemesis and archenemy. Klosterman has a brilliant line in the piece defining what a nemesis is. "If your nemesis invited you out for cocktails, you would accept the offer. If he died, you would attend his funeral and--privately--you might shed a tear over his passing."
Examples of a nemesis:
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto in the X-Men comic series
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada
Whether it's winning an NBA title, human rights for all mutants, or uniting the American people, the common goal has to exist. The opposition has to be done with class, respect, and dignity.
As I spend this coming week recovering from all the fried food and dairy I consumed, I am reflecting on all aspects of opposition in my life, whether it's work, recreational, or in my personal life.
Get some rest, and let's find that opportunity to be the rising tide that raises all boats.