With the need to excel comes the need to lend a helping hand to others. While the need to excel is important for the advancement of individual or a group as a whole, need to lend a helping hand is vital for the upgradation of the society or the group. Competition and cooperation are the two important factors that are responsible for the sustainability of all the species. If either of them goes wrong, it may disrupt the working of whole of the ecological system.
Competition may be defined as the inherent tendency of a person to surpass the old benchmarks, and create new ones. Since each individual wants to be the best, so the feeling of competition encourages a person to perform better, and at the same time it acts as a motivation factor. E.g. Usain Bolt broke the record time of Tyson Gay in 100 meters race, and was able to set a new benchmark; SSC Ultimate Aero TT broke the record of Bugatti Veyron and became the world’s fastest sports car. Furthermore, competition can also be extended to the field of technology and marketing techniques, as we see that day by day, new and better technologies are being developed by various firms and, side by side they are also competing for the marketing of their products. Competition is not only restricted to humans, it is also seen in animals who compete for a whole lot of things e.g. lions wrestle with each other for acquisition of region of ascendancy and king cobras fight with each other for acquisition of territories.
Cooperation on the other hand may be defined as the capability of a person to work with others in the same direction, towards the attainment of same goal. Cooperation helps a person to learn teamwork as well as helps him to develop leadership qualities, hence making him an extrovert. It also accouters a person with a feeling of empathy and sympathy as well. For instance, all the sports teams i.e. Basketball teams, football teams, cricket teams work in cooperation with their respective members and are thus able to excel. Citing the above examples again, SSC (Shelby Super Cars) was able to build the world’s fastest car because it collaborated with Corvette and Lamborghini and used a Corvette C5R engine, and a Lamborghini Diablo chassis; also various other companies work in partnership with each other to improvise the technology. Additionally, animals also cooperate with each other, e.g. bees are able to agglomerate honey as they know how to work with each other, and lions are able to catch their prey in groups as they are well conversant with the same fact.
Thus, competition and cooperation are equally important, which help a person to advance to the higher level, while teaching him to be helpful at the same time.
But, sometimes one may encounter that competition tends to overcome cooperation, taking a negative form, and hence transforming to envy and jealousy. Furthermore this makes a person feel discontented and frustrated. Also, if a person becomes too much dependent on cooperation he may start relying on others and take things for granted. A very well known adage says that "Excess of everything is bad” is thus totally valid in this context, because excess of either of competition or cooperation can lead to a downfall.
Thus, in short competition and cooperation are just like two ends of a lever resting on fulcrum, if any one of them exceeds the other the equilibrium gets disturbed. So, a balance between positive competition, and active cooperation should be maintained.
TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a student and his counselor