You’re A Runner, Not A Drunk In A Bar Fight

I think we look at competitors the wrong way. We look at competing against other writers, entrepreneurs and companies as if we’re in a bar fight, swinging drunken punches and trying to be the last Soak standing. This isn’t what it’s all about.

Your relationship with your competitors, is the same as a track athlete. You’re racing, you’re running against them, and you’re not breaking knuckles — you’re pacing.

When I talk to a lot of people who want to build a company, or just write a book, they’re always struggling with the idea that they need to knock out their opposition. I can’t stress enough how unhealthy that is. You start to think like someone who’s on the offensive or the defensive, and neither stance is proactive.

Run fucking faster — and get to the finish

When you’re building a business, you don’t have to create the best product in your space. You shouldn’t be creating a completely shit one either, but the most important part isn’t perfection. It’s not beating your competitors.

Because nobody cares if you stand up and point to your product and say “everyone knows it’s better” — that’s a message that you’ll never prove if you don’t have users or customers.

So what do you do? You have to run faster, and get to the finish. That’s it, pure and simple.

Most of your competitors are going to quit.

That’s the truth of it. The startups, and the entrepreneurs who are coming up right now with you in their sights are here today, gone tomorrow. Longevity is an important factor in a successful project, and longevity is something many people cannot leverage.

They’ll quit. They’ll hit a wall. They’ll walk away. This is your biggest opportunity, and their greatest threat. They will turn the ship around, and you’ll keep on going. That’s good.

When they quit, it’s going to tell you that you should too. It’s going to be a pretty convincing argument, but it’s not necessarily true.

When you can outlast your competitors, you become the obvious choice.

You’re not reacting, you’re honing

When you start to look at it like that, you’re able to tap into something else. You stop thinking about how to counter punch, how to block and what weapons you can pick up off the bar floor, and you focus on your own shit. How can you improve your pace? Reserve energy? Pick up speed?

When you’re thinking about how you can gain more ground — not cause more damage — the shift in operations is going to be tangible. You stop reacting, and you start acting. That’s pretty powerful, and it lets you set the agenda.

Optimization is the name of the game. Optimization doesn’t happen in the middle of a brawl, it happens when you’re training and running your race.

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