Competition and Bullying

Thoughts on competetiveness and its connection to bullying I encountered while cycling.


First of all, I apologize about the lack of posts. I have personally not found much motivation to really think of an actually decent topic to write about. Today, I do feel like I have something relatively unique that I do want to share with you!

Before I get to the meat of this post, perhaps an update on the overall situation: Though it might not be a particularly outstanding achievement - I finally got my own little apartment, and have been living in it for a few days now. Unfortunately it’s not big enough for multiple people for any longer period of time, but it’s a start for living independently.


Where was I? Oh right, “Competition and Bullying”. So, since I now have my own apartment, and I live not too far from my old home, and own a bike. I drove there, and back. To have breakfast with family. But that’s not important!

I noticed a particular thing about my trip. I happen to have overtaken a group of hobby cyclists, because they were a little slow at the time. This was at the beginning of my ride. Of course, a little further down the road, they got me back again. Though, I decided I would at the very least keep up with them. And I did. Eventually they took a break, and as it wasn’t too much further until I was home, I rode past them again.

And the moral of the story is: Never give u- NO! … that.. was not the point! This was on the ride to my parents’ place. On the way back, I’ve felt like a learned a bit about conserving energy and such. I eventually catched up to another cyclist in front of me and decided to take it a bit slower for now.

A little later, we were overtaken by a woman, probably with an electric bike, and a man, probably without. I decided to go along and ride with them, slightly faster. At first I thought these two were riding together, but funnily enough, eventually the man drove up beside the other and the two were seemingly racing neck-to-neck for a while, not letting the other pass.

Eventually the man has succeeded, aaand once again I decided to ride behind his tail, to try and keep up. It wasn’t much longer until I was back home, so I too overtook him as well.

As I was on that last strech, listening to music on my headphones, I had this train of thought…


If it wasn’t for these other cyclists, I probably would have not tried as hard, put as much effort into being faster, better than the others. It felt good. I felt accomplished. I’m still proud of myself, that I could do this. Out of shape, with my backpack and an old bike that I actually worry about breaking apart as I ride it one day.


In a similar way, the first group of cyclist I encountered was lead by someone. They set the speed at which the rest would drive. And they’d be motivated to keep this speed to stay with the group.

Applied to Coding

I think the same works, and I’ve experienced it myself, with coding projects. If you see someone’s project, and you think you could do it better, it’s often a good starting point. Depending on your experience, you might end up with a something better, or better in some but worse in other ways, or.. something unfinished. Either way, you learned or refined your skills!

And you don’t always have to do it better, either. Maybe you choose to do it differently. A different language, platform, style, feature-set, goal, … Maybe the project you’re looking at has a specific flaw you want to avoid: It’s size, or portability, … or you just want to create an open source alternative.


As this was all stuff I’ve thought about now, instead of as I was cycling home, here’s the other thing that went trough my head then: I felt good, being better than someone else. You know what’s also an easy way to make yourself feel better, superior even?

I’ll give you a few moments to figure it out … No, but seriously. Bullying is a very easy way of improving your self-worth by simply making someone else seem worse than you, without putting the same amount of effort into it as actually being better than them.

And once you’re better than someone, you shouldn’t feel the need to make anyone feel bad. You already feel accomplished. Being proud and sharing your achievement is great. Bragging about being better is pretty douchy, again. You probably haven’t actually achieved enough, then. Or might need to work on this flaw.

I could imagine these two things, competetiveness and bullying, are related. They both feed the desire to be better, or at the very least keep up with, the people around you. Competition certainly has had a very important role in human history and even before, being directly wired into our genetic code. It still undoubtedly has many benefits today. I’ll leave the downsides of competetiveness in today’s society up as an exercise for the reader.

So, this part is mostly to anyone who receives bullying, or did in the past. And I suppose anyone on the giving end of this equation is invited to reflect on themself, too. You have potential. You don’t have to regard these accusations and mean comments of others. You don’t need to make others feel bad to feel better about yourself. Feel free to step up and out of the circle, show that you can be someone, do something, make the world a better place in your very own, special way!