Competition vs. Collaboration

Taming opposing forces in 2020 Contest for Your Green Homestead Highest Rated Entry Awards

Do we live in the world of survival of the fittest, also referred as a cut-throat competition, or evolution of our cooperation with each other adapting to live in harmony with our environment and nature? I would like to make a case that both extremes belong to the same proverbial coin – as in “both sides of the same coin” – providing a feedback loop for one another, or embodying yin-yang opposing, yet interdependent forces, like night and day, or cold and hot that generate the energy to propel our movement toward our ideals.

Image courtesy of

I hear a lot of discussions nowadays how competition and comparison ruin our sense of oneness and impede our spiritual growth. Yes, they would if we don’t balance them with our intent for achieving harmony between passive (yin) and active (yang) forces. On the other hand, if we rely only on passive “peace” without our dare to speak up about turmoil that is brewing within, we also run into trouble – this time producing stagnation and decay, which is another form of destruction.

How do we balance these two opposing forces?

One of the discussions at New Hope Village and Farm in the last few months was dedicated to a thorough review of the collaborative process of consensus decision-making in small groups (up to 50 people) that relies on everyone’s input, even those who are usually introverted and don’t speak in public. This kind of process makes sure that everyone’s opinion is heard and taken into consideration for a proposed decision. Then depending on the topic of the discussion, a matching type of the decision rules is chosen, such as Leader decides, Majority rule, Super-majority, and Unanimity that can also be picked through the consensus discussion process. These kinds of arrangements do take some extra time during the initial learning period. However, they also save a lot more time and negative emotions by preventing future bickering between majorities and minorities that we witness in many cases today. If you are interested in learning more about this process, please feel free to watch a 1-hr training video Consensus 101: Basic Training in Consensus presented by Tim Hartnett, Ph.D. on website that was recommended by New Hope Village and Farm.

Presentation by Tim Hartnett, Ph.D. (1 hr) – courtesy of

How do we choose the best options and solutions?

In simple searches, Google, Yahoo, and other search engines are great at offering information, articles, images, etc. that have been reviewed by many people. Generally, the higher the listing in the search results, the more popular it is – which is a result of a direct competition between the sources of information. It doesn’t matter how much we wish to eliminate comparison and competition in our lives. If we use search engines for anything, we are participating in it (and love it too). 🙂

Search for information in emerging fields is a bit more complicated. You might have to review hundreds of articles and watch hours and hours of lengthy videos to extract a small grain of useful information. Reviews by experts in the field become more valuable in this process, similar to product reviews on Amazon and movie reviews on Netflix.

What if we go into the area of unexplored design ideas that have little verification or no implementation of any kind yet – before they receive a spotlight of reviewers and/or search engines? How do we decide if it is worth developing these ideas or if we better off tossing them into a trash can as brainstorming “extras”? Right now there are a lot of experimental examples in the sustainability field, such as Earth-ship homes, intentional communities, and permaculture design. A lot of little bits of information scattered in various articles and sources that are not quite combined into a comprehensive description for most of the topics.

By the way, if you haven’t explored permaculture yet, Heather Jo Flores put together a great weekly yearlong course absolutely free on website. It is definitely worth taking before signing up for any expensive certification courses, especially if you are not familiar with the teacher of the course.
Introduction of Free Yearlong Permaculture Course by Heather Jo Flores (1:15 min) – courtesy of

How can we use Competition constructively?

Let’s consider an example of the TV show America’s Got Talent. It is centered on judgement and competition and yet, it is popular and entertaining for majority of people. The contestants who audition and perform on the show prepare and participate in the competition for the opportunity to share their talent with others, and the judges provide the feedback that helps eliminate those who are there “just for the money”. Both sides contribute to the service to others – making this kind of competition a lot more constructive and balanced than a traditional cut-throat competition to win at any cost.

Why not follow the same format and present sustainability solutions in a creative form of stories, articles, photos, videos, poems, or any other type of artwork? Would you watch a program in which several contestants present their ideas for a sustainable household or homestead, and a panel of experts provides their feedback for them?

Since majority of people, including the new generation of kids predominantly learn online now, we have an opportunity to make a difference in inspiring sustainable design among a wide segment of the population through an entertaining contest.

2020 Your Green Homestead Contest

In the last two years since its launch in January 2019, Your Green Homestead [YGH] attracted over 50 sustainability enthusiasts to create their registered accounts and participate in YGH Contests in 2019 and 2020 either as contestants and/or judges who vote for the contest entries of their choice and provide their ratings in four categories. Many of them also organize and post sustainability-related events in local communities in Tennessee and beyond.

The 2020 YGH Contest is not over yet. It ends on December 31, 2020. We don’t recommend to wait until the last day to submit your contest entry. YGH Highest Rated Entry Awards are literally based on the number of ratings each entry receives from the registered members of the YGH Community before December 31, 2020 deadline. The entry that receives the highest number of votes is declared a Winner and receives YGH Award. Of course it is also important for these ratings to be at least 4- or 5-stars.

Any contestants are welcome to invite their own fans to vote for them. Each registered YGH member may send special email invites from their YGH account to anyone who would like to create a YGH account and participate in the contest voting. The account registration is required for all voters to avoid multiple ratings for the same contest entry by the same individuals. We look forward to reviewing and rating all new submissions before December 31, 2020!

Participate in 2020 Contest for YGH Highest Rated Entry Awards! – Read More


In the spirit of taming the opposing forces of Competition and Collaboration, we are inviting any feedback and/or opinions for improving YGH Contests and YGH website overall. Please feel free to post your comments below or send us a private message via Contact Us form.

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