The misfortune of having a competitive heart
      Shinichi Suzuki
      From TERI Journal  “TALENT EDUCATION”  No.49(1953)
Some people say, gHaving a competitive attitude is a necessity. Being competitive is one of the characteristics required to become a great man.h There are even people who say, gHe is a whimph when referring to a child who is not competitive and is unconcerned about losing.

I feel this is an unfortunate concept that we have come to accept as a social norm in our world.

If man does not have a desire to compete, our world will not move forward. This menial and unfortunate way of thinking came into existence as a result of a long history of people who believed this statement to be true. And because of the evolvement of this menial type of thinking, many people have fought and led unpleasant lives. People who had to grow up with such thinking had no choice but to live their lives feeling superiority and inferiority in everything that they did. I presume this is because competitiveness creates feelings of superiority and inferiority.

One good way to measure the worth of a human is seeing if he has or doesnft have guts. That we think that such a ludicrous statement could possibly be true shows us what misconceptions we have inherited over time. Think about how many people have had quarrels, killed and created a world without peace over this idea of obstinacy. As long as this attitude exists, people who have fallen behind or lost will continue to be burdened with the darkness of inferiority and people who believe they have won will continue to find pride within a worthless sense of superiority.

In the world of education, every precaution is taken and used over-extensively to make sure to not foster inferiority or superiority in children. Yet, it seems like such a ridiculous situation and problem that the adults who are teaching this are themselves living in a world of inferiority and superiority.

It seems as if somewhere in time, ambition and competitiveness became mixed up. Ambition and competitiveness are two completely different entities. For example, in the world of music, ambition would be the case of continuously fixing what you do yourself, climbing little by little, aiming for the amazing artistry and humanity of people such as F. Kreisler and J. Thibaud. Or, it could be to reflect on yourself, driving yourself to be like A. Schweitzer whose actions were that of a sublime artist who dedicated his life working hard for humanity. Or, working hard to develop a sense and ability in order to bring oneself a little closer to the greatness of the human ability and high artistic sense of people like Bach and Beethovenc... To admire such great people and push oneself one step at a time to become closer to such greatness. Shouldnft ambition be this desire to continuously reflect and fix one's own actions while finding a way to nourish oneself on to a higher level?

In opposition to this, there are people who feel as if they have fallen behind when someone who is studying alongside them has progressed even just a little bit in their study materials. Parents who feel rivalry are deeply upset when their child is behind other children. Such an unfortunate way of thinking only makes everyone living in this world of superiority and inferiority unhappy and increasingly lessens our worth as human beings. Especially when raising children, parents who have such a way of thinking do not foster their childfs ambition and end up only fostering their childfs competitiveness. When you think about it, these parents themselves are a byproduct of being raised this way, and never wantingly created this unfortunate state of mind within themselves. I believe parents who come to realize that they themselves have this state of mind, for the sake of their children, should discard this unfortunate way of thinking and become themselves a person who can live with true ambition. We must give great thought as to the difference between ambition and competitiveness and constantly reflect on ourselves. And can only begin to think about how our children can become ambitious people when we ourselves have become those who live with ambition in the true sense of the word. I believe that a truly great person is one who feels neither superiority nor inferiority, and walks the path of truth with only a truly ambitious heart.