I watched as the motorcycles lined up for the start of the race. Qualifying meant that a few, especially one, had an advantage over the rest of the field. Not only was the top qualifier starting on the clean side of the track, he had a 10-foot advantage over his next fastest competitor. It is a pattern that repeats itself across sports as well as many other places in life. Top qualifiers have a lead, heat qualifiers are able to continue in the competition, and professional runners at ahead of the masses. In business, top performers are paid better, receive more management attention, and often have priority to development opportunities. Starting positions matter.
Increasingly I question how and why this applies to anyone on a personal level. The premise of having starting positions is that the best competitor should win. The counter premise is radically simple; what if everyone could win?
The challenging premise does not end there. If we can all win, does it matter who starts first or how fast we go?
I watched a race where two brothers were competing in a triathlon. As one faltered, closer to death than anyone realized, the other gave up winning without hesitation. All that mattered was the person. As he helped him to the finish and medical aid the questions were already flying. Of the questions and actions that followed, the one that caused me to pause was the local Triathlon Association’s attempt to have the injured player disqualified for accepting help.
At some point, everyone needs help. For many different reasons, “some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life, your bodies feeling the effects of your sin,” (Psalm 107.17) others were disadvantaged by circumstances or discrimination.
In life’s greater story, everyone can win. We can contribute to the lives of those we meet as well as our communities. Helping each other is a part of that process no matter who starts first or leads in the middle. As a new day starts, it is an opportunity to action the highest priorities.