So let’s continue with this theme of important words that being with a C. shall we?
Competition is a fundamental concept in the Western World. Goodness knows we revere a champion like nothing else. (Superbowl, anyone?) We embrace the idea that anything better, bigger and stronger results from a competitive market. In the workplace and on the sports fields, we push ourselves, often to the point of exhaustion in an effort to triumph, to be more successful, to come out on top in the game of life. And the idea of victory is ingrained in us as toddlers as we are encouraged to run faster, jump higher, reach farther. Yup, everybody loves a winner.
I am reminded of a sculpture I once saw in a fancy high-rise office building. It featured a tall ladder with professional types climbing the rungs. As I studied it, I found it unsettling in its symbolism. One figure was stepping on the hand of the person reaching up from below him. Another was frozen in action, clipping someone in the chin with his briefcase. A woman was hanging precariously, her feet dangling in the air. And two characters stood shoulder to shoulder on one of the treads, pushing each other, a look of frustration etched in bronze on their faces. It was a metaphor, of course, a homage to the dog-eat-dog competitive atmosphere that climbing the corporate ladder fosters. Gee. It sure does make you want to jump right into the fray that rising to the top entails, doesn’t it?
So I’d like to offer another C word instead. How about cooperation? What if we saw helping each other as a means of helping ourselves? What if sharing knowledge, resources, and skills meant our own grew as well? What if our neighbor’s success enhanced ours? It is a concept that many cultures embrace for survival, right? Why can’t we?
Wouldn’t it be lovely to sit around with a group of folks, enjoying cup of coffee (or a glass of wine), engaging in a discussion, rather than a debate? Imagine what new ideas we might embrace, what shifts in perception might happen if we didn’t always have to be right, if we didn’t always need to win?
Of course, these ideas have weighed heavily on my mind as I prepare to send my book baby out into the world. The publishing industry is fiercely competitive as authors vie for a readership. I have read, with interest, the suggested methods of gaining attention, standing out in the crowd…everything from giving the book away to offering contests for gift cards to paying for email blasts. They call it Marketing (with a capital M), and they warn that without it, my book, any book, is destined to fall into the bottom of the heap like a rock thrown into a lake.
Perhaps I am a naïve Nelly, but I am counting on cooperation to launch my book. I am hoping that my loyal friends will share with their friends and ask them to do so as well. I pray that interest in Angelique’s Storm will grow exponentially because people who care about me want to see it succeed. It will take time, and it will take a village. But I have to believe that it will happen. Like the Beatle’s song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends. Gonna try with a little help from my friends.” I am counting on it.