“A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.”
Competition is a universal language applied in a myriad of ways.
We compete for prizes … for promotions … for parking spaces.
We compete to see who’s fastest … who’s strongest … who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes.
While the range and significance of each competition is diverse, one constant remains: competition is everywhere.
Still, many of us are ambivalent about competition.
We may praise the competitiveness of some (say, certain popular athletes), disparage the competitiveness of others (say, certain obnoxious colleagues) and deny that we ourselves are competitive at all (in order to suggest what nice people we are).
But the truth is…we all compete to some extent.
“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” — Walt Disney
For centuries, philosophers have debated whether competition brings out our best or our worst. The answer is of course, both.
However…in the spirit of looking at the glass being half full rather than half empty…we’ll focus on the positive benefits of competition.
If the purpose of competition is indeed to bring about your personal best and unleash our greatness…then who or what offers us the best competitive criteria for stepping up our game and improving our performance?
I’m going to take a stab at answering that question in a way that I hope will change the way you look at competition forever.
NO COMPETITION. NO PROGRESS.
In business and in life we often hear people ask…who is your perfect or ideal customer?
Or even what are the attributes of the perfect or ideal spouse or mate?
This is an important intellectual exercise as the answers help you to examine existing client or personal relationships and expose what I like to call the perfection gap.
Once the perfection gap is brought out into the sunlight…you are now in a position to think clearly about what stays, what goes and what needs your time and attention.
Let’s now piggyback this idea and focus the conversation on you…your goals, your reputation and your results.
If the goal is peak performance, maximum achievement, self-mastery, or even to become the greatest of all time (GOAT)…one strategy is all you need to get the job done.
THE PERFECT COMPETITOR STRATEGY
The perfect competitor strategy is based on the theory that world-class performances will only be achieved by rising to the mental demands and physical rigors that are brought about by world-class competition.
In other words…to be the best, you must compete against and beat the best.
So…who or what is the perfect competitor?
What are the attributes of the perfect competitor…the ones that drive you to dig deep and run faster?
Here’s your game plan for success…
The perfect competitor operates with the highest of professional standards.
They do the right things, the right way and never succumb to lying, cheating or unsportsmanlike conduct.
As a result…they have turned trust, loyalty and integrity into a massive competitive advantage.
If you have any intention of competing against them…your standards must be high and your behavior must be impeccable.
The perfect competitor has a demonstrated track record of superior results which in turn provides them with superior levels of credibility.
Those elevated levels of credibility work to intimidate weaker competition who wind up choking, flinching and second guessing themselves …which in turn leads to unforced errors in execution.
The perfect competitor is a well-prepared, highly competent and supremely confident professional who always plays to win.
“You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.” ― Steve Jobs
When will your finest hour come, and how will it arrive?
Do you really think it will materialize without a competitive challenge, without your perseverance being tested, without you being pushed to your limits, tormented, and put through your own personal hell?
In short, for you to unleash your greatness…you must seek out and rise to the great competitive challenges that are thrust upon you…or even better, the ones you thrust upon yourself.
While beating inferior competition may give you a temporary feeling of superiority, it’s a losing strategy…as you handicap your growth and relegate yourself to a life of mediocrity.
There is no purer form of success, no more exact and demanding test of what you are capable of, than to compete at the highest level and emerge victorious.
The perfect competitor takes great pride in what they do…they will not go down easily…so expect a fight…and bring everything you’ve got and then some.
The perfect competitor is mentally tough as over the years, they have trained themselves to develop an indomitable spirit…the type of spirit that is incapable of being overcome, subdued, or vanquished by lesser competition.
Psychologically, the perfect competitors role is to challenge you, to test your limits, to determine how badly you want it, to push you further than you ever have gone before…and ultimately to get you to raise your game to the highest level or perish.
In addition, the perfect competitors role is also to keep you on your toes and far outside your comfort zone, to see how much suffering you can handle, to determine how much inconvenience you can tolerate, and how much heart, will and character you really have.
From the playing field to the boardroom….the exact same rule applies.
If you’re ever going to find your greatness…you must understand that to be the best, you must compete against and beat the best.
It’s by rising to meet the mental demands and physical rigors that ONLY the perfect competitor can offer… that you provide yourself with undeniable proof that you have what it takes to be one of the great ones.
Look…there’s no point in pretending that deploying the perfect competitor strategy is anything less than the SAVVIEST MOVE YOU CAN MAKE.
And while there are plenty of excuses, there’s no good reason for you to procrastinate, to say the timing is not right…or that it’s not worth your time.
In the end…any negative assumption you may have about the perfect competitor strategy stands at odds with the most fundamental premise of success: to be the best…you must compete against and beat the best.
Posted on June 18th, 2018 by Gary Ryan Blair