I have a love/hate relationship with competition…
It’s too easy for it to get out of hand.
My kids — not knowing better — turn EVERYTHING into a competition. That’s a good way to never be happy.
“Last one to…”
“My LEGO set is the best…”
“You’re not even any good at…”
And on, and on. It seems like 20 times a day I’m trying to help them see how competition is making them miserable.
Competition — in the right places — can be a HUGE force multiplier…
And above all else, competing against yourself is one of the most powerful ways to accelerate your path toward whatever goals you wish to achieve.
Think of it like a game you want to beat. The more you can make achieving your goals feel like a game, the more motivating they can be (as long as you are willing to accept that part of you that loves to compete).
Here’s a few of the biggest examples from my life recently…
On September 1, 2016, I started stepping on the scale every day. I weighed 207 pounds that morning. I set a goal and tracked my progress, and got down to just under 172 pounds at my lowest (that’s 35 pounds!). I’ve since decided to add muscle, and am up about 10 pounds of lean mass. All along the way, it’s a game to achieve the weight and fitness results I want to achieve.
Shortly after that, my wife recommended the Insight Timer app for meditation. One of the things about that app is it tracks your daily streaks, and gives you stars based on hitting goals. Well, I’m up to 752 consecutive days of meditation.
I’ve started learning guitar in the last few weeks. I’m using an app, Yousician, that gives you points and stars based on how well you play along. And I’m making quick progress (after 20+ years of WISHING I could learn to play).
Again, I’m primarily competing with myself — and seeing what I can achieve — in all of these situations.
Here’s how you can apply this to making more money…
Last week, me and my coach Joseph Rodrigues created a daily income challenge.
We’re doing it to challenge each other, and to challenge ourselves.
We’re tracking our income every day. We’re calculating the average per-day income. And we’re counting the number of days over certain thresholds.
I noticed an instant increase in motivation when I did this.
Because I want to beat him, yes. 🙂
And because I want to beat myself.
Now, I have a bookkeeper. I know what I make per year. I know my bills are paid. I know what cash flow I have coming.
This shouldn’t really be anything extra. But by making it a game and a competition, I’ve instantly upped the energy I’m naturally putting towards it.
And he is, too.
Here’s an important perspective on this: while we’re both motivated to beat each other, we each know that the true competition is with ourselves. We’re both aiming to beat our own goals and maximize our daily income.
So while you can increase your accountability by doing this with someone else, you can absolutely still apply this whether you’re doing it by yourself or with others.
As a marketer, “The control is the enemy…”
This is yet another aspect of using competition and gamification to achieve more at work.
Part of what got me into direct response in the first place was this idea that the best would win, based on real market data.
It’s not about who likes what more. Opinion — yours, mine — doesn’t matter.
It’s about what actually generates response.
And if your new sales letter beats the old sales letter, you have a “control” — the current best.
For better or worse, that makes every project a competition.
The client has a sales letter that’s working. Often, that’s a sales letter written by one of the world’s best copywriters. What can I do to create a message that works even better?
There’s a mantra in direct response, “The control is the enemy.”
If you take that to heart, you’re coming out of the gate, frothing at the mouth, ready to beat the control.
And then when you have a new control, you don’t even rest on your laurels. Your job is to beat yourself. To beat your own control.
This is what will make you a Titan of marketing…
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Gary Bencivenga.
When I was writing the copy for The Titans of Direct Response, I learned a lot about how Gary thought about his copy projects.
Although he was kind and gentle in person, he was an absolutely fierce competitor.
He hated losing.
And so he spent most of his career figuring out how to not lose marketing tests.
By late in his career, if he wrote 8 promotions to test against 8 of the best copywriters in the world’s work, he’d get the control in 7 of the tests. If not more.
And often at least half of the 8 that he was beating were his own controls. Because he never rested.
In fact, his friend and client Marty Edelston — who shared these traits — had this on stationery around the office:
“Good, better, best, never let it rest, until the good is better and the better is best.”
Compete on the field, cooperate in life…
I played hockey growing up — and a bit in an adult beer league when we lived in Oregon.
When I step on the ice, I’m a fierce competitor.
That’s a field of competition. If you bring anything less than your most competitive spirit, you’re doing yourself and your opponents a disservice.
But when I step off the ice and back into life, I’m all about cooperation and the win-win. Because I know working together is HUGE to both happiness and having a good life.
Then every time I step onto a new field of competition, I put my competitive hat on.
The more you can use this to your advantage, the more you can live the life you dream of.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,