Do you ever watch nature shows?
You know the ones I’m talking about. A hushed voiceover explains how the lioness is using the cover of the grass to sneak up on the antelope… When suddenly the lioness jumps, and the chase is on.
The suspense is real — and it’s life or death.
Will the antelope get away? Will the lioness make the kill, and bring back a meal for her pride?
The antelope stumbles.
The lioness leaps.
And — if you’re watching a nature show meant for grown-ups — you see the lioness grab the antelope by its neck, and break it.
We like to believe that humans are better than this, but we aren’t…
Sure, modern society has evolved to a point where, in a lot of places, we don’t worry daily about survival. It’s incredible to think what has to happen for me to be able to walk out of my house, drive to the grocery store, and buy more food than I can eat, of almost any kind, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
But ultimately, humans are living by the same laws of the jungle that govern the lioness and the antelope.
There are winners and losers.
In many cases, there are scarce resources to be won. And in these cases, the resources you get do not go to someone else.
You may not eat your competition — but it’s certainly not fair, either.
The biggest difference between humans and “wild” animals is that we’ve developed an enormous amount of control over our opportunities…
Unless humans trap her and put her in a zoo, that lioness will live her entire life on the African savanna, chasing antelope and other game for survival.
Today’s kill can’t be stored, kept, and preserved for later. She will have to get up and hunt again tomorrow.
With humans, we can change place. We can accumulate resources, and store them for later.
Aside from any major physical or mental limitations, we all have roughly the same opportunities available to us.
We may not all start from the same place, but we all have opportunities to better our lot in life.
And yet, not everybody does…
Life is full of winners and losers…
In copywriting, there will always be an A-list — the most-respected, most-in-demand, most-skilled tiny group of copywriters out there.
The A-list will always be much smaller than the B-list, the C-list, the D-list, and all of those smaller than the F-list — the non-starters who gave up before even really starting.
It’s as sure as the realities of nature.
The same thing happens in business. It’s 80/20. Out of 100 businesses that start in a niche, 80 will experience moderate success, at best. 20% will experience a much higher level of success. 20% of those — 4% total — will be big winners.
And out of every 100, there will be 1 that stands head and shoulders above everybody else. Whose results instantly catapult them to the leader of the field.
The genetic lottery is much the same. I loved hockey growing up. I played it for years. And I was pretty good. And yet, I had two big strikes against me, that prevented me from ever playing pros — no matter how much I dreamed about it as a kid.
First, I was born into a non-hockey family. Everything else being equal, this set me back a good 6-8 years’ experience. I didn’t start until I discovered it on my own in 5th grade. Pros usually start playing by age 4 or so, and skating as soon as they could walk.
Second, I don’t have pro athlete genes. You can make up for a lot with practice and hard work, but some people are naturally predisposed — through genetics — to excel in certain fields.
I might have been near the top of the 80% in hockey, but I was never much better than that.
In other places, I’ve done pretty well. I may have some kind of inherent advantage in copy, that I’ve honed through a ton of hard work. The fact that I naturally like to write certainly helps. Other things may help, too.
For whatever reasons, it’s been far easier for me to succeed as a professional copywriter than it would have ever been as a pro hockey player.
Aside from genetics, though, there’s a HUGE difference between winners and losers…
Let me apply this to hockey, before copywriting.
Knowing what I know today, if I wanted to become a pro hockey player, here’s what I’d do.
First off, I’d commit to it. I’d set it as an intention, and focus on moving toward it every day.
But then I’d do the biggest thing that I see from winners that I don’t see from losers.
I’d invest in myself.
I’d invest in all the information I could about how to improve my hockey skills. I’d hire coaches to push me through, and improve my performance. I’d invest in whatever training gear would be most helpful in helping me beat my on-ice goals.
I’d go to camps. I’d pay for off-hours ice time, when I could practice even more.
I’d “pay to play,” in every sense of the word.
I’ve seen this over and over again…
Folks who are extraordinarily willing to “pay to play” — who invest in information, coaching, help, whatever — are most likely to be the winners in the end.
The objection here is that they have the money, so they can spend it.
But it’s a feedback loop.
I struggled to afford information on copywriting when I was getting started, but I invested and it took me a big step ahead.
I struggled to afford my first conferences when I went, but I invested and it took me a HUGE step ahead.
I’ve frequently thought it was expensive to do things to move my copywriting career forward, but in doing the whole “pay to play” thing anyway, I’ve forced myself to get strong ROI.
In the last few months, I’ve really rededicated myself to creating a bigger future — despite some internal struggles.
But by investing in myself — this time, with coaching — I’ve really started to create a new and bigger momentum for myself, that will lead to another big breakthrough.
At the same time, I see folks holding tight to every spare cent, not willing to invest in themselves, not willing to do what’s necessary, not willing to “pay to play.” And one year, two years, five years later, they’re still in the same place wondering why they’re not moving up and winning more.
I know what I just wrote may make me some enemies, and it may sound self-serving when I turn around and ask you to give me money later, but the more I admit to myself its truth, the bigger wins I enjoy.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,