Compete or cooperate?
How often does your training necessitate cooperation with others to achieve a particular task? By cooperation, I mean more than just the psychological benefits provided by the encouragement, moral support or comradery of others – I mean performing with others practical physical tasks you could not perform alone.
You see, training together and training cooperatively are not exactly the same.
‘You are always training together when you are training cooperatively, but you are not necessarily training cooperatively when you train together.’
Training together could simply mean two or more people exercising at the same time and in the same place, but still acting individually, i.e., they could do the same work on their own.
One more time:
‘Training cooperatively means performing with others tasks you could not perform alone.’
Cooperative training is based on tangible interaction, communication, and synchronicity of physical actions and efforts among individuals.
Competitiveness is in human nature, but so is cooperativeness! Most people today presuppose that competition between individuals and groups is not only inevitable, but that it is the only drive behind human growth – individual, cultural, or economic. However, the truth is that cooperativeness is also an inherent part of human nature, and it has an equal, if not greater, potential to make us stronger and more successful. Cultural Anthropologists have demonstrated that cooperation between the members of a group was much more essential to survival in our evolutionary past than competition. The same thing can be observed in hunter-gatherer tribes that still exist today, and in every group that has remained faithful to their ancestral cultural heritage.
‘Best growth or success doesn’t always comes from competition, but also and, primarily, from cooperation.’
Moving naturally also means performing tasks cooperatively. Cooperative is the 9th MovNat Principle.
Regardless of the initial motivation that compels someone to push themselves beyond what they normally can do, surpassing oneself is always empowering and inspiring. And this motivation to better and surpass oneself comes ultimately from within – it does not require the spark of external competition. The goal of this blog entry is not to deny the benefits of competition for self-improvement; rather, it is to emphasize that:
‘While a healthy dose of competitiveness can be a motivating factor in the drive to improve oneself, it is certainly not the only factor, nor a necessary one.’
Competition can be a valuable motivating tool and a lot of fun, but chronic competitiveness is not a sign of psychological health and balance. Constantly pushing yourself to go beyond your limits so you can ‘beat’ others and continually ignoring the healthy instinct to preserve your physical integrity can be harmful. Obsessive competitiveness can be a sign that you lack either will, self-confidence, or humility. Ultimately, the motivation to train hard should always come from within you, whether you train alone or with others.
In a competitive setting, encouraging others as you watch them strive to perform something great on their own is healthy and positive. Mutual encouragement is great for the community. Trying to better yourself, or even perform better than others, can be an acceptable source of motivation. At MovNat, we encourage our practitioners to to challenge themselves, above all. We support them in creating a stronger self, inside and out, in a way that is healthy and sustainable.
We also encourage our practitioners to train to be strong together, because we know and value the benefits of cooperation and cooperativeness. By strong together, we mean the synchronization of individual strengths into a stronger whole in order to perform a task cooperatively and/or to help each other. Encouraging oneself and others when you are actually engaged in cooperatively performing a difficult task can be even more powerful than encouraging others in their individual efforts.
‘In cooperative settings, everyone is a hero.’
With cooperativeness, everyone wins
Competitiveness and cooperativeness are mindsets. Use them wisely. The difference is that while you want to pay close attention to the right dosage when it comes to competition, you can cooperate with others without any limit or restriction. Remember, cooperativeness does not necessarily mean sacrificing yourself for others, as cooperation is always mutually beneficial. You give and take, and whoever is involved gets their share of the outcome produced collectively.
‘Cooperation leaves everyone satisfied. It makes the present more viable and the future more sustainable, both for yourself and the community you belong to.’
Moving naturally is evolutionary, and any physical practice based on an evolutionary reasoning should involve cooperative training. So don’t just go out and find people to compete with – locate people you can learn from and share with through cooperative training. If you can do all of that, and embrace a mindset and actions that can be sometimes competitive, but always and mostly cooperative, then you are MovNat. The MovNat mentality implies that my empowerment is everyone’s empowerment, and everyone’s empowerment is my empowerment. Fitness without the spiritual drive to better oneself as a person and help others to achieve the same is a shallow, meaningless endeavor.
‘We are not more than others, we are more with others.’
Erwan Le Corre
Founder of MovNat and Master Instructor
Do your train primarily with a mindset of being in competition with others? When you are training with others, are you actually training cooperatively?
Copyright © 2012 MovNat