This article was first created on the 9th of January, 2016 and last updated on the 27th of April, 2016 by Patrick Carpen.
Sometime back, when I was brainstorming how to find the right talent to help me illustrate some of my books, the idea of running art competitions came to me. I thought I could run these competitions nationally and also in schools. I could offer large cash prizes as incentives to stimulate the creativity and efforts of participants. That way, I could find just the right talent for my purposes.
But as I pondered the idea, a thought crossed my mind. How ethical are these types of competitions? Don’t competitions play with the minds of people? After all, only one person can be the winner, or sometimes two or three. But even so, I would raising the hope of thousands of people and dropping them.
Are competitions really healthy? I wasn’t sure. I must mention that I am not like most people who “just don’t care”. In fact, I care too much about the feelings of others.
For these purposes, I suspended the idea of running competitions for a while.
But some time back, while I was doing business between the Brazilian border city of Bonfim and Lethem, one of the shops I was doing business with was holding a competition. Each time sometime made of a purchase of 20 Brazilian reals, they were giving a coupon. They drawing date was three months away and the first prize was a motorcycle. The motorcycle really caught my eye. I fantasized about riding away on it.
At that time, I was making large purposes of soap powder from the shop for retail purposes in Lethem. Consequently, I received a whole lot of coupons. I excitely filled each one of them and dropped them into the entry box.
The drawing date finally came. It was 4 O clock in the afternoon. I had to work that afternoon so I got together with my supervisor and asked for some time off. “I’m not saying I’m going to win,” I said, “but it would be nice to be there”.
The supervisor smiled. She agreed. She was excited for me too. I picked my bike up and rode across the seven miles…all the across the border…into the city of Bonfim…to the grounds of the competition. A great number of people were already there. The louds speakers were set up. It was about twenty minutes before the starting time and about 200 people were already there. It seemed to be a very social gathering. A thought then crossed my mind: if I don’t win, at least I still will have a good time this afternoon.
The clock ticked slowly. Many people were feasting on beer cans. Some were sitting, some were standing and the music was loud and entertaining.
The hour finally came. The man on the microphone came over. The first ten prizes were minor prize. The excitement beamed to a climax. It was finally time for the motorcycle. The suspense was thrilling.
When it was announced, everyone cheered. A young womam from the city of Bonfim would take home the motorcycle. I cheered for her. I was happy for her. I was excited too.
I rode home with a cheerful feeling that day. It was a social gathering. It was fun and it was happiness.
When I got back to the workplace, I told my supervisor, with a smile on my face, “I didn’t win, but I had a good time”.
Indeed, I had a good time. But at the same time I realized that I was wrong about my fear of competitions. Competitions are no only OK, they are also fun, entertaining and helpful.
This is especially true if the competition is one which helps to improve people’s skills. For example, in the art competition, all the participants would have focused on and improved their drawing skills.
And it is “more especially true” if an entry fee is NOT charged for the competition. And no, I don’t plan to charge any entry fee, but I plan to give away large prizes.
Related: It is better to give than to receive.
At the end of the day, someone will be a winner and many other people will be happy for that winner.