Staying Off Other People’s Ladders of Success

“Star performing individuals make breakthroughs happen in any walk of life or field of endeavor by focusing on excelling while everyone else is just competing.” (The Other 90%, p. 31)

Robert K. Cooper, author of The Other 90%, has dedicated his life to understanding human potential and how to tap into your best self on a daily basis. What his research showed is that top performers excel, they don’t compete. He wrote that “winners are those who are superior not to others, but to their former selves.” (p. 33). Competing creates a win-lose situation. Somebody has to lose for there to be a winner. Excelling is not about beating you, it is about beating myself. It is about how can I show up today and be superior to the self I was yesterday?

Still believe that competing is the only way? So do most people. Thus, organizations focus on competing instead of excelling. That is why there are so few masters in the world. That is why so many organizations fail to live up to their potential. Want to know what you can accomplish when you excel? Anything. Just check-in on legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden’s life. What Cooper’s research showed, Wooden’s life validated. There are a lot of golden nuggets in Wooden on Leadership:

1.       Wooden’s definition of success: it is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

2.       It is up to each of us to become as good as we can become with the gifts and talents we have been given and in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

3.       Stay off other people’s ladders of success.

4.       Results don’t matter; effort does.

Based on this philosophy, Wooden was able to inspire his basketball teams to achieve records that may never be broken. Like 10 NCAA championships in 12 years. Like 4 perfect seasons. You get the idea – when we compete against ourselves and try to invoke our best, magical things can happen.

Not sure how to move away from competing to excelling? Here is a great starting point: read the book Blue Ocean Strategy. This book offers the methodology for helping your organization carve out its own space in the market by excelling, not competing.

Busy creating blue ocean strategies,

Dr. Tomi