Researchers suggest that social competition may be the reason for bigger brains and few disagree with that scientific evidence. My question is, in addition to increased cranial capacity, what ethical influences do competitions play in human minds?
Brain gurus such as David Geary show positive proof of growth through competition. Any negatives though, to smack-down-matches you’ve observed lately?
Does peer rivalry increase antagonism or foster benefits from where you stand?
Run that extra mile, write a finer essay, rebuild a better prototype, swim faster, and you literally reshape your brain chemically and electrically for higher intelligence. Even simple competitions, can alter brainwaves up or down. The jury’s still out however, if competition adds or reduces brainpower for a more successful life.
Research is sobering. Scientists suggest, for instance, that constant Facebook, Twitter and Bebo rivalry, can actually decrease attention spans, foster instant gratification, and encourage self-centered communications. Through competitions for followers, or one-up-ship news reporting, people reboot their brain to live in the moment. The results over time?
No surprise that competition alters brainpower, yet further investigation may offer fresh insights about negative or positive effects to the human brain. Benefits dominate some research and yet we’re warned of definitive ways competition can hurt more than help.
Before choosing competition or collaboration consider effects of each on brainpower:
Here are 10 surefire ways to view competition, with the brain in mind.
1. Use tone to build goodwill. Even within competitions, tone tools open opportunities for life-changing dividends. In healthy rivalry, tone draws success like the moon attracts tides on an ocean shore.
2. Network to enhance wisdom. Fuel your brain with chemical hormones for growth and learning, by planning times ahead to engage others, rather than merely racing against them on a dime.
3. Interact across ages and cultures. Get to know people who differ from you and emulate their diverse offerings. Connect more with people unlike yourself to learn from and value differences.
4. Ask great questions. Listen, then act on hot answers that refire your efforts. To read or hear alone, works less magic in the brain than to act on answers from 2-footed questions.
5. Put feet to new beliefs. Change even deeply held assumptions, when others hold finer ethics up to the rainbow. Weigh differences, in successful results for all.
6. Run from cynics or bullies. Propose competitive solutions to problems raised. Opposite abuse or toxic competitions, lie steps toward peaceful solutions, from multiple intelligences.
7. Link to high performance minds. Build with those who lead change for improvements. Facilitate innovative minds and lead fixes for broken systems, that trap hebbian thinkers.
8. Engage opposing views. Show strengths in alternative perspectives, by stepping out of comfort zones to embrace unexpected answers that lead to visible improvements.
9. Try new technologies. Rarely is it easy to learn new online skills but each time you step up to a new plate, you stretch and exercise your brain’s working memory for competitive edges.
10. Send growth zingers to peers. Draw from serotonin to affirm competitor’s ideas and share your own insights when appropriate, to offer genuine encouragement.
Overall use smart skills to create online communities that compete, win and grow together. Skeptics and naysayers will always be with you, yet one day offers every chance you’ll need to join brilliant minds who are changing our world through healthy rivalry at the peaks.
Would you agree that competition against self also powers up the brain for consensus and for building together finer realities across one another’s differences?
What’s your take – is competition a barb or a boost to brainpower?
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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset