If you’ve come across this saying, many have, you may not think about it at first; but this saying is very detrimental to us. If you tell yourself this saying, you are likely to turn out like a dog. No one wants to hire a dog. If you look at the world as someone that is happily anxious to meet other people doing better than you and in your same profession so you can learn from them, then you will not act like a dog and your colleagues will be more likely to refer to you as a sub for them or even to take their job, especially in the music world. If you get the dog eat dog mindset, you will constantly be set on being better than the other person in a demeaning way (like eating them…), rather than actually getting to know them as a friend to the point where they would teach you their knowledge, give you their job, or recommend you for a job. We must admit that we have a lot to learn from people that are better than us at something and that there is always someone better than us. We need to keep that mindset.
2. Biblical relation
Jesus speaks particularly to this worldly saying (it’s a dog eat dog world out there) in Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
Additionally, Paul is in support of this mindset of humility. Philippians 2:3: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”
Also, remember the story about the disciples disputing along the road which of them would be the greatest in Mark 9:33-35: “33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Lets think about this from a musician’s perspective. Bob is the best trumpet player in his high school. He’s a senior, is skilled at soloing, sight reading, and playing high notes. So he doesn’t practice, because he is already the best, but what if he started comparing himself to some of the greatest trumpeters who ever lived? It would make him realize he needed to practice, probably, for the rest of his life!
Similarly, we need to do so in work, sports, practicing, eating, health, and our relationship with our Triune God. We aren’t the best in the world at our jobs or skills-we have strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, we aren’t perfect Christians by any means compared to God. Since God wants us to have the mindset of fixing our eyes solely on Him (just look at Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”) and not comparing ourselves with people who are running the race while we are running it, we need to follow through with that in our jobs, skills, and other competitive aspects as well. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
There is a danger of relating to others to the point that it is unhealthy. To the point where we are comparing ourselves to others’ lives rather than comparing ourselves to God; which, in turn, humbles us to God and causes us to realize our unworthiness of Him. Often, we want to compare ourselves with people we can physically interact with, but comparing ourselves to God is what He intends for us. After all, if I am only comparing myself to a worldly figure, there is only so much I can grow until I get to his level spiritually; which is ultimately tainted by sin.
Let’s bring this mindset to everything-the workforce, practicing, eating, running, sports, etc-because we’re never going to be the very best, although we should strive for it in a healthy way; realizing that God wants to help us grow. Only God is the best. When I get to heaven, I’ll realize God Himself is the best bassist. Regardless of if we become ‘the best’ from the world’s standpoint, we will never be perfect at our job or skills we have.
PS: Dog is the opposite of God. (God spelled backwards) 😉