Eliminating the Competitive Mentality
(Minghui.org) When I was a child, I was very self-centered and developed a very strong competitive mentality due to the influence of Party culture.
I admired people on TV shows who were good at debating. Every time I watched those programs, I would learn their techniques to the best of my ability.
When others agreed with me, I was happy and thought very highly of myself. But when they disagreed with me, I would think that they didn't know as much as I did. When I talked to my friends, I always thought that I was better than they were. Sometimes I got so excited that I'd raise my voice and sound like I was arguing.
After I started practicing Falun Dafa, I thought I did well in cultivating away my competitiveness. But as time went by, I realized that was not the case. The fighting mentality was so deeply ingrained in me that it would manifest itself even when I talked to people about Falun Gong.
For example, I liked to use extreme examples and ask rhetorical questions. If someone didn't approve of what I said, I would find all kinds of examples to convince the person. And if he or she still didn't listen, I got impatient and thought that the person couldn't be saved. My strong competitive mentality was keeping me from developing compassion for sentient beings.
Sometimes it didn't just manifest in my daily life: Master would also reveal to me just how strong my attachment was in my dreams.
The other day I dreamed I was in a political science class in high school. Most of what the teacher talked about was how great the communist regime was. I was barely listening when he suddenly began to slander Falun Gong.
I got so angry that I jumped up and began to fight with him. The angry feeling was so real – it felt as if this was something I'd been holding back for a long time that suddenly exploded. The whole class was looking at me, and the teacher didn't know what to do with me.
After I woke up, I still felt very angry. I was shocked. Why was my competitive mentality so strong? In other dreams, too, I'd fought physically with others after heated conversations. I was behaving like a different person in my dreams, someone who was filled with anger, hatred, and the desire to fight.
I suddenly remembered what Master once said:
“A practitioner said that he could do very well during daytime, but not in dreams. This shows that deep in his mind it is still not solid, and he was tested in the dream to see whether he was solid or not.” (Lecture in Sydney)
I realized that, while I was awake, my competitive mentality was hidden deeply inside me, because I worried about losing face. Because of this, I refrained from losing my temper in front of others.
But in fact, the competitiveness still manifested itself when I clarified the facts. To me, it felt natural to question whoever I was speaking to in order to prove that I was right. I never thought there was anything wrong with that.
When I put myself in their shoes, however, I suddenly realized that my aggressiveness had hurt many people's feelings. Many people thus lost interest in talking to me and avoided dealing with me in the future.
What I want to do is to save sentient beings, not to push them away. My belligerent tone – a manifestation of Party culture within me – would turn others off. As long as my words are tainted by this impurity, they can't be pure enough to eliminate the evil factors behind sentient beings or showcase the beauty of Dafa.
I realized that my competitiveness was far more than a regular attachment. It was affecting how I validated the Fa and saved sentient beings. And if I didn't realize the seriousness of this problem, it might be seized upon by the evil and amplified. The reason why we clarify the facts and expose the Party's crimes is to save people, not to prove ourselves right.
After I realized my problem, I paid special attention to my tone of voice and choice of words. I would put myself in other people's shoes and ask if I would want to hear what I was saying. As I gradually cultivated my competitiveness away, I felt like I was becoming calmer and friendlier.
“Human thinking has a weakness, and you have discovered this over the years while clarifying the facts. Namely, that the first idea that’s accepted tends to stick.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the NTDTV Meeting” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IX)
First impressions are really important. If someone has never talked to a Dafa practitioner before, he will make a judgment based on how we behave. Only when we talk to people with pure kindness and compassion can we touch a person's heart and truly save them.