Sermon quotes on competition

Wendell Berry

There is no denying that competitiveness is part of the life both of an individual and a community, or that, within limits, it is a useful and necessary part…But it is equally obvious that no individual can lead a good or a satisfying life under the rule of competition, and that no community can succeed except by limiting somehow the competitiveness of its members. One cannot maintain one’s ‘competitive edge’ if one helps other people.

The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry, Counterpoint.

David Brooks

A person may fight ferociously to win success, to be better than everybody else, and then one day find it all seems empty and meaningless.

David Brooks, The Second Mountain, Random House Publishing Group, 2019, p.28.

Joan Chittister

Everything we do is about winning something or measuring one person against another or garnering goods in great quantity, not because we need them but in order that others can’t have them. We make life one great competition, a win-lose situation, a measuring stick by which we parade our value to others and, saddest of all, use those same things to convince ourselves of our own value. As if what we get . . . [is] any indicator at all of what is at the soul of us internally.

The Way of the Cross

Sebastian Coe

Competing is exciting and winning is exhilarating, but the true prize will always be the self-knowledge and understanding that you have gained along the way.

Quentin Crisp

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It’s cheaper.

Umberto Eco

Since I became a novelist I have discovered that I am biased. Either I think a new novel is worse than mine and I don’t like it, or I suspect it is better than my novels and I don’t like it.

Patient of James Hollis, Psychologist

I always sought to win whatever the game was, and only now do I realize how much I have been played by the game.

C.S. Lewis

It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.

Mere Christianity, 1952

Joe Namath

If you’re not gonna go all the way, why go at all?


A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.

Delphi Complete Works of Ovid (Illustrated), Delphi Classics , 2013, p.343.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Competition has been shown to be useful

up to a certain point and no further,

but cooperation, which is the thing

we must strive for today,

begins where competition leaves off.

Leo Tolstoy

Unable to value, unable to enjoy.

Lily Tomlin

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.

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