So while I was getting ready for work the other morning, and I had CNN on in the background. This story about a non-profit organization that uses horses to help motivate at-risk children caught my notice. Here, go ahead and watch. I’ll wait:
What a creative way to help children, right? A really great feel good story. So after CNN airs the story, they go back to the anchor who also talks about what a great story this is. But then he says something to the effect of “oh man, it’s just too bad you have to choose just one but you must”. And I’m sitting there thinking, “um, I don’t think you actually HAVE to choose”, not really knowing what he was talking about. But he goes on to explain that this particular story was actually all about finding the “2014 Hero of the Year”. So the people must choose only ONE winner. Because of course, this is America, there has to be A WINNER!
The question is why? Why must there be a single winner? I was lucky enough to be invited to a church service this past Sunday. The preacher talked about how our society was so prone to declare “winners” and if there are winners, there must by definition be “losers”. But he stressed that he didn’t think it had to be that way. He believes that life doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. That if we would emphasize love and compassion for one another, it would be a “win-win” for everyone. I firmly believe that the preacher has the right idea.
So looking at what CNN is doing, it is has a lot of good things going for it. They are highlighting the good of society, instead of the dredges that usually get all the attention. But the construct of all this is so American. It’s not just heroes, it the “Top 10″ heroes (because by golly we need a ranking!). And then it’s not enough to just have a “Top 10″, we MUST choose a WINNER! I don’t know about you, but when I see the video, I wasn’t sitting there thinking “hmm, that seems ok, but could you give me 9 other choices (no more, no less!) to compare this too so if I can decide if this charity is a “WINNER” or not? I can already see that charity and those children are just full of win! I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that the other 9 is just full of win too. And I will further say that there are a lot more than 10 people/organizations that are also full of win.
I don’t mean to pick on CNN. Hey, like I said, at least they are using some time to highlight good things. I’m just using this as an illustration for what I think happens too often, we turn everything into a competition. But I could easily see how CNN could tweak this, make it an ongoing segment, highlight a different “hero” just once a week, but continuously. It’s just a thought. No votes, no winners, because they are all winners. Really. A win-win.
When it comes to sports and when it comes to business, competition is great! But when it comes to life, I don’t think there is any reason that we should strive for winners and losers. There’s no reason we can’t strive for as good of life as we can get for everyone because really that’s what is best for us all. It’s the win-win.