Personality is, to large extent, inherent – A-type parents usually bring about A-type offspring. But the environment must also have a profound effect, since if competition is important for parents, so is likely to become a major factor for lives of their children’s.
One place where children soak up A-characteristics is school, which is, by its very nature, a highly competitive institution. Too many schools adopt the "win at all costs" moral standard and measure their success by sporting achievements. The current passion for making children compete against their classmates or against the clock produces a two-layer system, in which competitive A-types seem in some way better than their B-type fellows. Being too keen to win can have dangerous consequences: remember that Pheidippides, the first marathon runner, dropped dead seconds after saying: “rejoice, we conquer!".
By far the worst form of competition in school is the disproportionate emphasis on examinations. It is a rare school that allows pupils to concentrate on those things they do well. The merits of competition by examination are somewhat questionable, but competition in the certain knowledge of failure is positively harmful.
Obviously, it is neither practical nor desirable that all A-youngsters change into 'B's. The world needs types, and schools have an important duty to try to fit a child's personality to his possible future employment. It is top management.