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I read this story sometimes ago, somewhere on the internet, it was really profound and it completely blew my mind.
I’m going to try and retell the story the best way I can.
Here it goes:
‘Back in middle school I had a teacher who was very fond of teaching us with fun games.
He would put us up against each other and we would complete for prizes such as candies, sweets, chocolate etc.
One day, he came into the class and he decided we were going to play tic tac toe (commonly called ‘x and o’ here in Nigeria)
He divided us into six groups each with it’s own ‘x and o’ game ( each game had five boxes per row).
He proceeded to explain the rules, in each group 3 pupils would use the ‘X’ and the other 3 would use the ‘O’, any group that was able to get their X or O in 4 boxes at once would get a candy each.
5 minutes was alloted for the duration of the game and we all sat down to compete.
Our mouths were watering for the candy so we played fiercely, blocking each others moves, and making sure the other team did not get to have their letters up in 4 boxes.
At the end of the five minutes, the teacher asked us to stand and present our results.
My team won in our group as we were able to get our X arranged in four boxes on a row, we got a candy each.
Other groups ended in a stale mate, they battled fiercely, blocking each other’s move and at the end no one was able to win, none of them got a candy.
There was one group at the back of the class, each member of the group got 3 candies each, both the X team and the O team were happily licking away at their candies.
They were quite smart as they noticed at the beginning that the teacher didn’t say there has to be a winner, all he said was that any team that was able to get their O or X in Four boxes at once would get a candy each.
So they decided to cooperate with each other. The X team arranged their X in four boxes on the first row, the O team did the same on the second row, X on the third row, O on the fourth row , X on the fifth row and O on the sixth row. So they each had 3 rows in which their Xs and Is were arranged into four boxes and they got 3 candies each.
The teacher then went on to explain that this world doesn’t have to revolve around competition, we should learn to co-operate and help each other and we would all real the benefits in the end.
The lesson I learnt from that game struck me hard an I have lived with the lesson since then till my adult hood.
Those principles has helped me to always be happy for people when they are successful, I have formed several study groups with my mates and we make sure to pass our exams together.
I think if everyone can understand that co-operation is much easier than competition, then the world would be a better place.