Escape Competition With Authenticity

If you're competing, you're doing it wrong.

I was pointed in the direction of an incredible podcast recently by my friend, Matt Sandrini. In the podcast, Naval discusses his so-called secrets to getting rich. Really, it’s two hours of solid wisdom, life advice and personal development tips as they pertain to business.

Around halfway in, Naval gets asked about escaping competition. His answer?

“You can escape competition through authenticity, when you realize that no one can compete with you on being you.”

If you’re competing with somebody, you’re both shooting for the same position, and that competition will make you highly emotional, reactive and ineffective in business. How do you escape it? We might think that the only way to circumvent competition is to crush our opponent or to walk away. In reality, neither of those approaches will render effective.

Ask yourself: Why are you trying to reach the same position as them? How can you create your own position by being authentic? What skills can you exercise that they don’t possess?

Finding your unique angle is the key to escaping and overcoming competition. Don’t shoot for a spot that somebody else is trying to fit into. Create your own spot through authenticity and step right into it.

By the way, my new YouTube channel just went live! You can check it out here for weekly content about personal development, happiness and wellbeing.

Earn More, But Don't Upgrade Your Lifestyle

The common pitfall most rising entrepreneurs and creatives fall into.

At the moment, my business generates a sizeable chunk of money every month. And when I open up my bank balance to see more money than any twenty-year-old really knows what to do with, I start dreaming of all sorts of possibilities.

So in January, I did what most people do when their earnings increase. I booked myself a meeting at a local Audi dealership, sat down with a sales representative and priced up the A1 I’d decided I was going to buy. Seconds away from signing the paperwork, that voice of reason we tend to ignore chimed in. On what planet is this a sensible decision to make?

In that instant, I changed my mind. I told the representative that, on second thought, I’d go home and think about the purchase some more before making a decision. And the more I think, the more I now realise how close I was to financial suicide.

See, upgrading our lifestyle as our earnings increase is the very trap most of us fall into. We get a raise at work, so what do we do? We mortgage a more expensive house. We sell more courses this quarter than we did last quarter, so we buy ourselves a fancy new watch and lease a car. In doing so, we think we’re becoming financially free when in reality, we’re preventing ourselves from ever attaining that freedom we so desperately seek.

You will earn more money as your career advances. That’s a given. But if you spend that money as soon as you earn it, you will forever remain poor. Only when you learn to reinvest that money wisely, save it appropriately and refrain from lucrative purchases will you truly become financially free.

I’m going to pass on the Audi for now. My beaten-up Peugeot 108 will do just fine. It gets me from A to B, and that’s precisely what a car was built to do. By abstaining from luxury now, I know that I’ll reap far greater rewards in the future.

The lesson? Don’t commit financial suicide by making ego-based monetary decisions. You don’t need an expensive car to look cool. You don’t need a Rolex. You don’t need nicer clothes.

What you need is to keep your head down, focus on the work, and that work will pay off tenfold for the rest of your lifetime. Trying to look cool is for losers. Don’t be a loser.

The Magic of Mono-tasking

Multitasking is for losers. Don't do it.

Many of us assume that multitasking is the most efficient way to work. Why focus on achieving just one task when you can tackle several all at once?

That’s a good question. It makes logical sense to expand your workload and maximise your output within the timeframe that you have. In practice, though, it just doesn’t work. Psychologists have even proven that multitasking actually inhibits productivity.

Playing catch with one ball is easy. Juggling with two is a little more difficult. Make that five, and you’re probably going to drop a few — if not all of them.

In much the same way, taking care of one task at a time allows us to focus intently on it, giving it our undivided attention and therefore completing it to the best of our abilities.

Sometimes when I’m writing, I’ll also have several other tabs open. As soon as an email crops up, I’ll stop to answer that. Then it’ll be a text message. Then I’ll check my Twitter notifications. Finally, I’ll go back to writing.

The issue, though, is that in doing that, it becomes very difficult to find any flow. I can’t get into the zone, because I’m split between four different zones.

Instead of multitasking, try mono-tasking. Manage one task at a time. Close down all of those other tabs, switch your phone onto aeroplane mode and give that one task 100% of your focus.

You'll Never Be Ready Enough

Competence comes after confidence, not before.

Since starting secondary school at thirteen years old, I decided I wanted to become the leader of my house team by the time I reached my final year in education.

Being a house leader would involve speaking to large crowds of students and hosting the annual competitions that took place between each house. At thirteen, I was nowhere near confident ‘enough’ to become an ambassador - or so I thought. In my head, though, that didn’t matter. By the time came, I’d be ready.

Each year that passed, I was surprised that I wasn’t becoming increasingly more confident. Despite my hopes, nothing seemed to be changing.

And, much to my dismay, I still didn’t feel ready when the time finally came for me to apply to join the house team. I was just the same as I was back in my first year, just older and a little taller. I was disappointed that, after all of those years, that long-awaited self-esteem had never arrived. And that’s when it hit me.

No matter how much you hope, pray and wait patiently, you’ll never feel confident ‘enough’ to do the things that scare you.

You gain confidence after you face that which you’re afraid of; after you put yourself in a position in which you might be rejected, humiliated, lonely or fail — but never before.

Every single time you confront your fear, you gain a little more courage to do so again in the future. When you face your phobias again and again, you gradually start to realize that there’s no need to be afraid. This isn’t a life-or-death situation, and you can handle a little embarrassment or rejection from time to time.

To make that realization, however, there’s a hurdle to overcome. You have to put yourself in some pretty uncomfortable situations. You have to become well-acquainted with fear.

How You Do One Thing is How You Do Everything

Becoming aware of that simple fact is the key to supercharging your productivity.

Sometimes my alarm will ring in the morning and I’ll leap right out of bed, make breakfast, head into to my office and have my entire to-do list polished off in a couple of hours.

And on other days, I’ll snooze my alarm, vegetate amongst my bedsheets and scroll through social media for hours — and then spend the rest of the day doing nothing.

Of course, it’s okay to do nothing. I’ve never believed in this cult of extreme productivity, of working yourself to the brink of burnout. We all need rest, and it’s fine to be lazy sometimes. But only in moderation.

Back to the point — I firmly believe that the way you start your day sets the tone of the rest of it. Getting up early puts you in the kind of mindset that says, I know I need to do this thing today, so I’m going to do it. Staying in and stagnating, on the other hand, puts you in the I know I need to do this thing today, and I should probably get up and do it, but I’m going to stay in bed anyway frame of mind.

If you’re snoozing your alarms for hours on a regular basis, you’re probably also going to be pushing back your deadlines, skipping workouts and putting a hold on the rest of your long-term goals.

Why? Because, in the words of Tobi Atkins,

“The way a person does one thing is the way they do everything”

Begin to notice how you approach these seemingly menial daily tasks. If you rush through everything, notice that. If you give each task only half of your efforts, become aware of that, too. Then, notice patterns in your behaviour. And, as you do, work to correct unhealthy patterns where necessary.

After all, how you do one thing is how you do everything - so start doing things a little better.

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