I'm not a competitive person. Maybe that's why I have enjoyed only limited success in sports. I just didn't have that fire in my belly, as they say. Maybe, on the negative side, I have missed opportunities to better myself by not being competitive, but on the positive side, I haven't felt a great need to compare myself with other people very much. And I hope that it has allowed me to find enjoyment and excitement in the accomplishments and talents of others. I say "I hope" because I see this as the key to leadership, and one that I want to get better at.
But there are different kinds of competition. Today I experienced a competitive dilemma being played out in the lives of some poor people here in Cebu that takes competition to another level entirely. Together with our two social workers, Carmelita and Chris, I went to the northernmost part of Cebu to distribute some cash assistance to three families whose homes were damaged in the super typhoon. The typhoon hit about four months ago and all of these families still have to live someplace other than their own home. And here's what makes it worse. Two of the families have seen their neighbors receive assistance from the govenment while they were passed over. It is a sad situation when families have to compete for limited assistance funds or building materials. When you see your children or grandchildren suffering while others have a solid roof over their heads, its hard not to feel bitter. Its hard not to feel competitive. Some people I met in Tacloban talked about inequities in the distribution of food and water after the storm surge hit that city, and how hard it was to have to compete with neighbors for basic, life-saving commodities. What a different type of competition this is than a game of basketball or a battle for recognition at work. I'm sure it would get a fire going in my belly!
We were able to make up for some of these inequities by giving money for building materials and labor to these families. Thanks to all who allowed us the privilege of helping these people who suffered huge loss in the typhoon, and then came out on the short end of the relief assistance.