#CommunityoverCompetition is probably my most favorite hashtag on Instagram.

Let me explain…

One of the first words that comes to mind when I think about the fitness industry is competition. I mean, it kind of makes sense, but does it really?

Do we have to compete with each other? Do we really have to compare ourselves to others? Why are we doing this? So we can find a reason to beat ourselves up and confirm our overall mindset of not being enough?

Consider this… is competing an expression of our own insecurities? Of our tendencies to think that we constantly have to change ourselves because we aren’t perfect the way we already are?

I’ve been around so many people in the gym who, if you ask them about their workouts or specific exercises they do, you get the answer, “Oh sorry, I don’t share my secrets.” Or even better, “If you want to know this and that, how about you pay me for it.”

These are people who would never walk up to somebody else and let them know how much they like the way their body looks. Or the kind of workout they are doing.

And ladies, I love you all from the bottom of my heart,  but we aren’t the best example for this — especially in the gym.

How often did you compare your body to somebody else who is working out at the same time? How often did you judge someone for their bodies? The clothes they are wearing? The exercises and workouts they do?

What’s your why for doing this? How does it serve you?

Why can’t we just let those darn boundaries down, step out of our comfort zone and remember that we are all in this together?

There is enough for all of us out there, and to achieve your very own goals you don’t have to compete with anyone. Not even yourself 🙂

I’ve been thinking about all of this for a while now and one thing that kept crossing my mind was Darwin’s concept of the survival of the strongest and fittest. I told myself that it might merely be human nature and maybe my train of thought was off here.

So I spent some time and researched. Here is what I found out.

The concept of the survival of the fittest is commonly interpreted to mean that only the strongest, fastest members of a species will survive. Competition is the natural order and nature ‘red in tooth and claw’ is just waiting to chew you up and spit you out. Compete or perish.

However, what Darwin actually said was “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”

And this is not the whole story.  Darwin also observed that caring for each other was a great survival trait: “Those communities which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring”.

I think the evidence is in the way humans, one of the most cooperative species to ever inhabit the planet, have flourished. The evolutionary experiment on the power of community and cooperation has produced astounding results.

And yet popular culture perpetuates the myth that competition is the key to all ‘progress’. Innovation, wealth, increased living standards are largely attributed to our innate ‘kill or be killed’ instincts.

But is it really? Can’t we progress without being competitive?

Wouldn’t it be so much more fun if we all worked together? Shared our appreciation for one another?

When I randomly started walking up to women at the gym and complimenting them on whatever was present for me, it seemed like the energy started to shift immediately and a huge smile came over their faces. They were so perplexed and very often didn’t really know what to say besides: “Thank you, that’s very sweet of you.”

Those are the small things we can do for one another. They don’t cost us anything other than 5 seconds of our lives.

So what are you choosing from here on going forward? Competition or community? 🙂

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