If You’re “Competing,” You’ve Already Lost

I was a sophomore in high school…

It was a brand new high school, and the energy in the auditorium for our “opening assembly” was palpable.

I was shy, as I had been for the last three years in middle school. I sat in the back-half of the auditorium next to a random kid from my biology class.

The drill team danced, the student body officers hyped up the crowd and funny videos played to reveal our brand new school’s theme: Begin the Adventure. It was cool.

But then, the Student Body President stepped up to the podium for his welcoming speech…

This guy was something special.

I don’t remember anything he said in that speech, but I do remember how it made me feel:


Though I was shy and though I didn’t know very many students, I made a commitment in my heart that day that in two years time, when I was a Senior, I would be that guy. I would be the Student Body President and deliver a speech that moved the students’ emotions the same way my mine were moved that day.

Over the next two years, I had that image of myself standing at that podium etched in my brain. I thought about it virtually every day of my sophomore and junior years:

  • I thought about it while I made an absolute fool of myself in assemblies hyping up students
  • I thought about it when I bought a megaphone my junior year just so I could be known as “that guy” with the megaphone
  • I thought about it every time I prepared a speech for students, administrators and faculty
  • And I tried to think about it as I engaged with students, wanting desperately to be someone that was consistent (I didn’t want to be the kid who became unusually friendly during election season…)

Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy…

I did it. I did exactly what I set out to do.

Yes, it sounds silly, I was just a teenager. But here’s why this is important:

I discovered two things at that time on an emotional level that I’ve only recently come to understand on an intellectual one:

One – “You become what you think about.” ~ Earl Nightingale

Nightingale is telling the truth in his radio episode “The Strangest Secret” that if you set a goal, keep it in front of you and move with intention to pursue that goal, you will get it.

Two – You must apply “specific knowledge” to be successful

Naval Ravikant talks about specific knowledge. It’s knowledge that:

  1. You can’t be trained on
  2. Comes from your natural curiosity
  3. Feels like play to you but work to others

I found my specific knowledge as a 17-year-old: speaking. Inspiring people.

No one trained me on it. It’s something I’m just insatiably curious about and feels like play to me. While other people would rather die than give a speech, I see speeches as a beautiful opportunity to move people.

I lost sight of my “specific knowledge” and the power goal setting while my brain was being rewired by the evil traditional college system. But I’ve recently come back in touch with it, and it feels AMAZING.

I’ve also come to learn that when you pursue a worthy goal using your “specific knowledge,” no one can compete with you. It’s impossible. That’s because you’re not pursuing your goals or using your “specific knowledge” to “win…”

You’re doing it because the doing is a reward unto itself.

The outcome is irrelevant when you’re pursuing a genuine passion and curiosity.

Consider a few brands who have no competition:

Joe Rogan, who makes $50,000,000+ every year on his podcast.

Tim Ferris who is also fabulously wealthy from his.

Simon Sinek is a household name.

Jack Butcher is a category of one.

Even the company I work at, Power Selling Pros, has virtually no real “competition” after 13 years of success.

They all pursue a worthy goal with “specific knowledge” that only they have.

And yet, our traditional MBA programs teach us about competition, porter’s five forces and how to “set yourself apart” from competing businesses and job applicants.

While competition does exist, it’s the wrong thing for most people, especially young MBA students, to be thinking or learning about.

Instead, set goals. Pursue your “specific knowledge.”

And if you want help identifying yours, let me know. I’d be happy to help you find the “peaks and valleys” as they’re called that indicate where in your life you’ve found it.

I hope this inspires you.

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