This follow-up to my NaBloPoMo Day 20 post is more an exercise in trying to communicate my points in a graphic way as much as distinguishing the difference between competition and winning. Funny thing was that there was an article on the front page of my hometown newspaper on Friday that supported the idea that graphics do make reports look more credible, especially the more scientific they appear. Mind you, this article was more concerned about how advertising is perceived with graphics, but nonetheless, as the saying goes, a picture still remains worth a thousand words.
This all goes back to the Four Dimensional Framework model I’m working on to assess and represent public interest. Without going into a lot of detail, simply put, the bigger and more circular the graphic, the broader and more optimally the public interest is served. The graphic is divided into quadrants each representing a category of my Four Dimensions of public interest:
- Length – The Relational Dimension (red): the lines that connect and define our relationship to one another.
- Breadth – The Scope Dimension (green): the geographic, temporal, social, and ecological space within which we exist and function.
- Depth – The Awareness Dimension (blue): the knowledge and capability we possess and utilize.
- Time/Change – The Dynamic Dimension (yellow): The outcomes that materialize through our coexistence and interaction as opposed to operating in isolation.
In this case, when it comes to professional sports, consider this set of graphs to be from a general North American perspective since that is what I’m familiar with.
So first, we have Competition. On the most part, a competitive mindset can put strains on most of the Relational dimensions, but on the most part, in its true spirit, competition leads to positive attributes like Skill, Knowledge, and Excellence that is generally respected and appreciated by the public, as represented by the graph’s fairly circular shape.
Placing a priority on Winning for its own sake, though, does not reassure that these broadly productive qualities are the outcome. Winning is primarily driven by self interest for which honorable conduct like honesty and Truth are not considered assets if cheating and lying is seen as the more assured path to achieving selfish objectives.
This skews the graphic inward, not only for Truth, but also for other progressive conduct like Skill and Excellence since those more focused on winning are less interested on honoring those who are the best at those attributes and others like them. The odd shape that results, threatening to implode the circle representing public interest, reflects how this mentality may be favored by some athletes and their fans, but by itself, it is ultimately not good for everyone. Not when the drive to win corrupts and overrides the true spirit of competition that better fits public interest.
Overlaying the two graphs together allows a direct comparison. This highlights the divergence between Competition and Winning particularly when it comes to self vs broad interest, being truthful, and the pursuit of excellence. But one distinguishing area between the two that is less appreciated is the degree by which athletes approach their sport willing to accept the outcome and judgment of their performance that is Extrinsic, or outside, of their control or own expectations.
This Extrinsic versus Intrinsic dimension is just as significant as Truth when it comes to understanding the difference between public and self-interest. In sports, this is a matter of complying with the rules, including their spirits, as well as the judgment of officials, but in business, it is the market. For politics, it is the count of the ballot box. By itself, to protect the integrity of those systems representing the will of the people, it was just that international regulators recently came down hard on banks in a foreign currency exchange scandal, as did Canadian election officials on a robocall controversy in the last federal election that misled voters in one region.
Well, for a post that was supposed to let the graphics do the talking, I still ended up with a 700 words. Clearly still need to back up these graphics with words to explain myself, but hope that one day, they will become familiar enough that the message behind them will become evident at first glance.