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“[Burg] has demonstrated that adding value to people's lives is the way to climb the ladder of financial success.”

~ Fran Tarkenton, Hall of Fame Quarterback and Founder/CEO GoSmallBiz.com

Rand (And Wattles) On Creation And Competition

April 26th, 2011 by Bob Burg

Yesterday I tweeted and “Facebooked” (still can’t get over those new verbs) :-) one of my favorite quotes from Ayn Rand, the Russian immigrant whose magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged has finally been made into a movie:

“A creative (wo)man is motivated by the desire to achieve,
not by the desire to beat others.”

This was certainly not an original thought, nor need it been. However, I do believe it is a thought that, when heeded, results in huge success.

She is really talking about – as I first learned while studying Wallace D. Wattles’ 1910 classic, The Science of Getting Rich – living on “the creative rather than the competitive plane.”

Sometimes, the above phrase by Wattles (and perhaps Rand’s) is misinterpreted to mean that you simply refuse to compete, and that you should even ignore your competition in the marketplace.

In my opinion, neither means any such thing, nor would either be advisable.

It’s good business to be aware of your competition and even to know their products/services and their strengths and weaknesses. It is also good, at times, to be inspired by them.

However, like so much else, the key is in the focus.

If you are focused on (beating) your competition, you are likely not going to be as successful as if you are focused on being the best you can be, and achieving. And, in a free enterprise based economy, you achieve via serving your customers.

In other words, focus on creation rather than your competition, and you won’t have to be as concerned about your competition.

—–

Heading out later today to speak at a public event tomorrow morning in Charlotte, NC. If you live in the area, perhaps I’ll see you there. Will be off-line this afternoon and all day tomorrow. Check back in with you Thursday morning.

17 Responses to “Rand (And Wattles) On Creation And Competition”
  1. Bonnie Preston said at 8:37 am on

    Good morning Bob,
    My observation is that men are generally competitive – women are collaborative. I think the proper recipie for success involves about 45% creativity, 45% collaboration, and 10% competition. A little competition can be a great motivator, but if the other ingredients are missing, any success is a hollow victory.
    Have a great day.
    Bonnie

  2. Al Smith said at 8:37 am on

    Thanks Bob. Great stuff, again. I heard this recently and I can’t remember from who. ( Might have been John Maxwell or maybe you ) “We do not COMPETE with each other, we COMPLETE each other”

    I really like that. Enjoy your trip. Know your gonna be great in Charlotte, NC.

    Al

  3. Bob Burg said at 8:46 am on

    Bonnie, thank you for sharing your observations. When it comes to commenting on women’s thoughts regarding men and women, I simply say there are three rules I’ve learned that have served me well.
    Rule #1 The woman is always right
    Rule #2 Should the woman ever be wrong, refer back to rule number one.
    Rule #3 Regardless of the first two, just apologize and beg for forgiveness.

    Al, thank you for your comments and thoughts! T’was not I who said that, but don’t know who it was.

  4. Linda Ryan said at 8:49 am on

    I believe Wattles says “the competitive mind is not the creative mind” and I tend to agree. If I am focused on ways to beat someone else, whether in business or sports, I really limit the creative thoughts that come to me. For example, when I’m playing tennis I try to think about, focus on, get a picture of, my absolute best shot. I’m thinking about my grip, my form and ball placement as opposed to “winning the point.” I play way better tennis, and I believe way better business when I’m looking for ways to improve my game, rather than beat someone else. When I improve my game, I usually win, but it’s not because I’m trying to beat someone, it’s because I’m playing (or working) the best I can.

  5. ava diamond said at 9:06 am on

    Although on the spiritual level, I don’t believe in competition–I believe that I will connect with the clients that I can serve better than anyone else–I do like to look at my “competition.” Then I ask myself, how can I do it better, more creatively, more amazingly than they do. It helps me stay “ahead of the curve” and always on my growing edge.

    Thanks for your post this morning, Bob. Safe travels.

  6. Randy Gage said at 9:21 am on

    It’s like golf really. The real competition is with your own potential and greatness.

    -RG

  7. Bob Burg said at 9:23 am on

    Hi Linda, your thought regarding tennis reminds me of a quote from Sadaharu Oh, the great homerun hitter from Japan, often called “The Babe Ruth of Japan.” He is reported to have said, “I don’t see the pitcher as my opponent, but rather as my partner in hitting home runs.” pretty cool. Thank you for sharing!

    Great thoughts, Ava. Again, I don’t think that a “focus” on creation means we are not “aware” of our competition. Or that we don’t learn from them. I enjoyed how you put it. Thanks for sharing with us!

  8. Bob Burg said at 9:26 am on

    Hi Randy. Yes, I believe that when we see our competition as ourself, and “winning” meaning that we did a little better today than last time, then we are headed in the right direction. Interesting to me that the greats such as Earl Nightingale, John Wooden and many others did not define Success in terms of victory but in terms of advancement toward an ultimate goal. And, they were two huge winners. We see this so often. Thank you for sharing with us!

  9. Jim Everett said at 10:27 am on

    Bob,
    Thanks once again for great content that stimulates a new ‘thought storm’.

    One way to view competitors that just struck me is that they may be ‘co-conspirators in market elevation’. There is always a huge opportunity to learn from them and increase the value you offer to your market. Sometimes your creativity will build from what they’re doing and other times it will be almost opposite of what they’re doing. That part isn’t nearly as important as allowing yourself to be driven by serving your market at the highest level possible.

  10. Chi Chi Okezie said at 10:31 am on

    Great post Bob. Yes, I totally agree, creative definitely out ranks competition. When I find myself being competitive, I loose focus of the bigger picture and burn out much quicker. But when I am in a creative mindset, I feel free and have a greater understanding of possibilities. Keep up the sensational work and Bonne Chance with your event in Charlotte!

  11. Deb Stewart said at 1:56 pm on

    Bob, I’ve struggled with this concept of creation vs competition for some time and was unable to reconcile it…. Until I read your post. I get it now! Thank you my friend. Muah! Double Muah!!

  12. Bob Burg said at 2:17 pm on

    Jim, great thoughts. Makes great sense!

    Chi Chi, thank you. Very cool!

    Deb, what a great compliment. Please know how much that means to me. Thank you! (oh, and err…Double Muah back) :-)

  13. Mike Spanjar said at 3:12 pm on

    Bob, you can quote Ayn Rand every week and I’ll never grow tired of it (Atlas Shrugged alone has enough content to last you a few years!).

    This particular premise is an important one for entrepreneurs — anyone in business, really — to grasp. We need to put most of our efforts into what WE are doing to achieve our goals. Maybe 5 to 10 percent of the time, we want to keep an eye on the competition.

    I liken it to driving. Most of the time, we peer forward, our eyes focused on the horizon and what’s beyond in order to arrive at our goal. Occasionally, we look to the side, and we check the rearview mirror. We must be mindful that other drivers are out there doing their own thing, and we need to make sure there’s no chance for them to knock us off course.

  14. Mary Silva said at 5:26 pm on

    Thanks, Bob. My family will tell you I’m competitive when we play cards, darts, and bocce ball! ….But all in fun!!

    In my business, we focus on being the best…and serving the needs of our clients the best we can; however, we pay attention to our competition to eductate ourselves. More times than not, a prospect is not loyal to a completitor and is willing to see if we can make them happier:)…. This usually results from ASKING QUESTIONS and being genuinely interested in others:)

    And I believe there is an abundance of “thinking stuff” (Wattles)….. so there should be enough business out there (big enough pies) for everyone that is being their best self to succeed:)

    Good luck in NC! All the best…

  15. Bob Burg said at 8:44 pm on

    Hi Mike. Thank you. I love your analogy!!

    Hi Mary, terrific points. Thank you!!

  16. Michele Gorden said at 11:26 pm on

    Very good points as I had this very same situation just today! If one focuses on how to se
    rve the customer’s needs than what the competition is up to, then it is easy. Iron sharpen’s Iron!

  17. Bob Burg said at 11:29 pm on

    Great point, Michele. Thank you!

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