I grew up in a neighborhood that had only one indoor basketball court. It was at the local rec center, and the only way to use the court was to either be on one of the youth teams, or show up for the rare (and unannounced) “open gym” periods.
The problem: with either option, you’d be sharing the court with a bunch of other kids.
No one had ever explained it to me, but I understood even then: I couldn’t get better without solo court time.
There were basketball courts outside. The issue with them, according to neighborhood wisdom, was that the double rims made it harder to shoot, and that the outdoor gravel was a “worse” surface to play on than the air conditioned indoor court.
That was my opportunity.
When I’d practice on the outside courts, by myself in sweltering Philadelphia summer afternoons, no one ever joined me. It was too hot.
Everyone saw what I was doing, but no one wanted to do it with me. I rode that advantage a long way in basketball.
Years later, I lived in a building that had a few small, private offices for any resident to use. I suppose the building had anticipated having many people who worked from home.
They were right.
When I first moved in the condominium, the building was about 40% full and I enjoyed uninterrupted use of the office spaces.
But slowly, more and more people moved in. More people who worked from home saw the offices. Competition for use of the rooms went up.
Now, something about me: I wake up before 4 AM. I could have easily planned my day around getting to the office spaces earlier than anyone else, and thus ensured my use of the offices.
But I didn’t like that plan. It was based around me altering my schedule to beat everyone else — it was me competing for use of the office. I needed a better plan than competing.
I found one.
Like every place in South Florida, this same building had a pool. The pool deck had some tables off to the side, and the building WiFi worked out there. Instead of the indoor office spaces, I started doing my work out there, next to the pool.
Other residents saw me out there working. But hardly ever did anyone else bring their laptop out there to join me.
Have you ever been outside in Miami in the summer?
Yeah, it’s warm, but that’s not the half of it. It’s humid as fuck!! Just standing outside can induce sweating. Being outside in the Miami summer humidity is uncomfortable.
I like humidity. I mean, I’m human, and it gets hot for me, too —but I can endure it. That was my advantage.
I wrote all of Work On Your Game [The Book] at that outdoor pool deck, in the summer humidity. It was quiet and peaceful. I drank a lot of water.
Everyone saw what I was doing, but no one wanted to do it with me. Everyone can stand air conditioning. Not everyone can stand the heat.
I recently moved into a building that has that same private office spaces setup. Being an early riser still, I could get one of those spaces by simply being early and being consistent.
But, I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who likes those spaces. I’ll need a better strategy, one that no one else wants to compete with me in.
When I started the Work On Your Game Podcast, I needed to do something that made it distinct from every other show. Every other podcast was doing interviews, and publishing 1-3 times per week.
Where’s the opportunity? In the opposites.Where’s the opportunity? In the opposites. Click To Tweet
My show is daily. And it’s just me talking. No interviews.
Everyone can see what I’m doing, but no one wants to do it with me. Most couldn’t do it even if they wanted to. It’s a challenge coming up with that much material.
Competition exists when you’re doing something, other people are doing it too, and you’re all trying to do it better or faster or more efficiently than each other.
Fuck competition. Competition is too volatile. I look for things that no one can compete with me at.Fuck competition. Competition is too volatile. I look for things that no one can compete with me at. Click To Tweet
Every new competitive strategy is novel… until it’s not anymore.
Every defeated opponent will come back better and stronger, having learned from their defeat.
Any time people can see what you’re doing, they can copy it — and they will.
… Unless, what you’re doing is something that, although everyone can clearly see it, they either can’t or don’t want to copy it.
This is how you eliminate competition.
Where have you been competing, but maybe you could find a way to eliminate all competition? Reply and let me know — I read all responses.
PS — If you haven’t yet read my book Work On Your Game: Use The Pro Athlete Mindset To Dominate Your Game In Business, Sports, and Life — get it here: http://WorkOnYourGameBook.com
If you have Work On Your Game, your next step is the Bulletproof Bundle, my four best Mental Game books in one package. Get it here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/BB