Human nature dictates for us to have a sense of competition, of winners and losers. We create races, challenges, puzzles, anything to test our bodies and our minds. These competitions are great because they allow people to find ways to improve and be better, but in the end, there can only be one.
When there are winners, there are losers. And when there are losers, there are sour grapes. The murmur of indignation starts to bubble up just as results are announced.
“Well, everyone knew that the race was fixed. ”
“Oh I didn’t study for this anyways.”
“I was too lazy to try.”
“I’m too tired to do anything.”
And on and on, the excuses flow.
I understand these excuses in my life. The idea that I am simply not good enough is feared. If I choose to measure my self worth solely on how I do in competitions, no doubt would these hateful statements slip from my tongue continuously. Why “hateful” statements? For one, muttering excuses is really hating on yourself. Rather than choosing to reflect on the experience, you are consciously pretending that it just wasn’t a big deal. Depriving oneself of the opportunity to improve and reconsider is a rather poor education – and life – decision.
Sour grapes turn the world around you sour as well. When you publicly announce that “This competition is rubbish”, what are you saying to the person who worked for hours perfecting their project? Or perhaps a snide “el oh el congratz I totes could have done wayyyy better :P :) :)” can hurt just as much. Although it may seem that the only way we can make ourselves feel better is by putting down others, it is very rarely a proper path.
Why would one intentionally bad mouth humans who are friends, colleagues, or coworkers? These are people who you should be celebrating with, not laughing at! A few heartfelt kind words would bring happiness, while a mocking tone only separates. Even if you are brilliant alone, it doesn’t hurt to be assisted and produce something better. Perhaps your ego may take a hit, at which point I’d like to ask: why are you competing? To learn, to discover, to play to explore to entertain to improve, perchance to dream?
The original fable from Aesop was about a fox who saw grapes right out of his reach. After straining to reach them, he eventually gives up and moves on. Today, it is as if all of us are reaching for those sweet jewels, but when someone succeeds, we shower lemon juice on everything. We cloud our own judgement and punish others out of spite and malice. At the same time, words of honey could have been used to brighten everybody’s day.