Fuel Your Drive With a Competition Mindset

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  • August 17, 2009

When I was in college, I had a job in data entry. My paycheck each week was based on how many fields I could fill with numbers and text. The faster I typed, the more I got paid.

I was fortunate in that my best friend and then college roommate, Jeff, worked there with me. Having a friend there with me had a lot of great benefits. I had someone to talk to and help pass the time away. I had someone to cover for me if I needed it. And most importantly, I had someone to compete with.

Quite often Jeff and I would begin competing with each other to see who could type faster. I would type my fingers raw trying to crush him but in the end, I actually remember very few times that I beat him. He defeated me in our competitions at least nine out of ten times that we would race.

But do you know who the real winner was each time? It was both of us. You see every time I raced against him, I may have come up short in the race but I always came up long in my paycheck.

By racing against Jeff, I pushed myself to type faster and accomplish more work. I filled more fields with data and in the end we both took home more money than we would have if we had never competed.

Do you view me as your competition?

I view every blog that I visit as a competition. I closely examine their strengths and weaknesses. I spy out every inch of them looking for anything I might be able to learn or use to enhance my own site or give myself an edge over them.

spying

I don’t mean that I want to crush other bloggers, but I do mean that I want to push myself to be better than they are. I know that sounds egotistical but I don’t think that it is.

You see, I honestly hope that those others bloggers will view me the same way and work to make their blogs better than mine. If they do that then we will both become better.

Imagine if you and I are both bringing in 500 unique visitors per day to our sites. Then we decide to compete against one another. We leave comments on our peer’s blogs. We set up link exchanges with other great sites. We promote, promote and then promote some more.

In the end of our competition, I receive 1,000 visitors per day and you only receive 950 (or vica versa).

When you and I compete we both become winners!

Who is the winner in this competition? The truth is clear. We are both the winners. We both enhanced our blogs and increased our promotion efforts. We both increased our traffic. We both came out better than we started.

Get this mindset. I want to be your best friend but I also want to be your competitor. Study my site and figure out what you can do to pass me up and I’ll do the same with you.

Then we’ll laugh together and enjoy the success that we will have driven each other toward.

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About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

52 Comments

  • Satkrit says:

    Very nice example to go with the article. Really loved it!

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Satkrit » Thanks. I’m glad it made sense for you.

      Eric B. » Exactly. If we’re not constantly learning from each other then we are going to fail. Eventually we are going to run out of ideas on our own and then all we have is what we can pick up from those around us.

      Kaizan » Game on, my friend! Let’s drive our sites up a notch!

      InternetHowBlog » Thanks. If we’re not constantly trying to improve our products (our blogs) then we’re not going to attract new readers and grow our influence. I’m glad that you benefited from this.

      Luis Lopez » A link exchange sounds great. I’ll get your link up later today! Thanks.

      • Pinaybackpacker says:

        Exactly. This is the Information age after all. And we have to make it our business to learn and improve regardless of what niche/s we are in.

  • Eric B. says:

    Thanks for the very helpful post. I’ll be sure to remember this for the future. I also really liked the example you chose to help explain this.

    I think it’s important to always try to improve your blog by seeing what other blogs do, and then trying to do it even better.

  • Kaizan says:

    Great post.

    I hadn’t really thought of other blogs in this way, but I suppose you are right. Every moment someone spends reading one blog is a moment they can’t spend on another blog.

    Game on! :)

  • InternethowBlog says:

    I think without looking at the others work there is no way we can improve. By seeing what others do, we learn a lot. I think this is alright. For instance I started blogging by seeing other good blogs on the web. That gave inspiration to start my own. If I see something better than mine, I try to improve my to that standard. Even more.

    Again, I sometimes I come across things that I don’t agree, then that helps me, not to do the same mistake.

    You are so right Nicholas, by analysing (spying) others you learn alot. There is no harm with competition at all. If it is done right like you and your friend, both sites can benefit from that.

  • Luis Lopez says:

    I am totally in the same edge than you, I follow your site to learn more things about your subjects and because you are my competitor “we have a very similar niche” but obviously I don’t do it with the idea of stealing or doing nothing against you or other similar sites, I think we all do the same, in some way but not everyone admitted, If you or any one with a similar blog want to check my website to grab some ideas and put them in practice on their own, I won’t be mad I’ll be glad because is flattering.
    Any way if you are interested on a link exchange with my blog let me know. we can create a win-win partnership.

  • odc says:

    heh , you and me both nicholas .

    just that in my case i think it’s chronic . i view every interaction i have with people as a competition .

    and it has pushed me further but at the same time it has pushed me in multiple directions .

    which in turn got me stretched . you know what i mean , right ?

    as with everything else , boundaries need to be set .

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      odc » Yes and no. It’s always good to stretch ourselves in new directions but you are right that it can become too much.

  • Arisu says:

    Competition is key to improve and reach new limits.
    But I don´t think you should try to compete with every blog around, sometimes that´s just not your area and that is ok.

    Altough a lot of inspiration can come from unexpected places… and learning from weird blogs or blogs that have nothing to do with your main niche can really set you appart from the rest. Maybe trying to write a post like a recipe or a list of instructions or a “Things to do list” can turn out to be just what you needed for your next post.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Arisu » Good point. We certainly can and should draw inspiration for ideas for many sources. In Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Being A Better Blogger, he actually challenges his readers to go to a mall and observe trends, activities and people. It’s the perfect way to begin learning how to get ideas from sources that we don’t usually think of.

      Joe » Even though you don’t have a blog, I really believe that this principle is true for websites as well. I think it’s interesting how you relate your experiences of web design from when it was all very new. Thanks for providing me with some new insights.

      Jeff B. » You’re right. We really got to determine our own destiny when it came to how much we could gross each week. I think that’s really true with blogging and website design. We really are the only ones who can determine our own success.

      David » I like that attitude as well! Competing against your own potential is one of the best tools. Most in-store consumer driven companies that report earnings every quarter like Wal-Mart, Starbucks or McDonald’s almost always report their same-store earnings as compared to the year before. In other words, they always let people know if the McDonald’s down on Second St. brought in more money this year or less. These multi-million dollar corporations understand the importance of competing with and improving on their own previous benchmarks. We should understand that important principle as well!

      Bruce » Although I’m grateful for your compliment, I don’t think that I am out of your league. Every blogger that I know could be the next Darren Rowse. You never know if it’s going to be you or the next blogger down the road. Now of course you have to continue learning and growing and working to develop a top-notch blog for people to look at. I know that yours may need some work, but you being here and studying each article at a blog like this shows me that you have the determination and desire to learn what it takes to move up the ladder of success. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we may be in different leagues. I don’t know. I don’t really like to think of it that way, but if you put the right principles to work for you then it could end up that you end up leagues ahead of me. For that reason, I like to think of us all as equals. Because where we are and what we know today may not be the same tomorrow. Tomorrow I could be learning in your classroom!

      Josh Hanagarne » Thanks, Josh. I just jumped back over and rechecked that article that you wrote for ProBlogger. Forgive me but I’ve read so many articles since June that there’s no way I could remember them all. Of course, I remember it now! Back when I commented on that article I was just starting this blog. In fact I built this site on June 14 so Site Sketch 101 is just days past being two months old.

  • Joe says:

    I really appreciate your view of “the competition”, Nick! I don’t really have a blog, but I’ve been building web sites since the early 90s, and your take on the competition is truly in the spirit of the web as I remember it to be.
    Back then, when the web was young, there were very few books to teach us how to set up a web page. College classes covering the subject were practically non-existent. The only resource we had was to look at web sites, and in our browser, view the page source, and try to adapt the code for our own design.
    This way of learning was actually encouraged in the beginning, among web page designers,for checking out the competition’s code was the only way we had to learn.
    It’s very similar to your take on “the competition”, and in the spirit of the web, freely sharing information for mutual benefit!

  • Jeff B. says:

    I’ll admit that I was the college dorm-mate and coworker in this story. And those were the days when paychecks could be as high as you wanted them to be.

    The only reason why I made more almost every day is because I worked the electronic sort program. My boss later told me I averaged around $50/hr at times on that program.

    Anyway, great analogy to tie in the spirit of competition. Way to go!

  • Fuel Your Drive With a Competition Mindset | Web Design Updates says:

    [...] Fuel Your Drive With a Competition Mindset [...]

  • David says:

    Great article. Something I would always do is compete with myself to do better than I did the previous time.

  • Bruce says:

    I was wondering if that was you Jeff B.

    I view other people in my niche as comp. But I don’t view blogs like yours that have nothing to do with my niche as competition. Not to say I don’t desire to have a better looking blog (and by all means I don’t have one) but I wouldn’t say it was competition. Perhaps in a way, but you’re out of my league… for now.

  • Josh Hanagarne says:

    Fantastic post, and I have to say I freaking love your blog design. I first saw your name when you commented on my Problogger post back in the day (of June:)

    Your comments about bloggers and competition are spot on. The web has made it so easy to do favors for each other. Competition pushes everyone harder, but everyone can win. We just want to win first and let everyone else win a little less:)

    Great writeup.
    Take care friend
    Josh Hangarne

  • Fuel Your Drive With a Competition Mindset | Design Newz says:

    [...] Fuel Your Drive With a Competition Mindset [...]

  • Joe Cassada says:

    Great story! I love visiting other sites/blogs and gleaning ideas from them. I love your site’s creative, yet simple layout. I’m always on the hunt for a better theme. I probably change themes more than I should.

    Competition is good!

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Joe Cassada » On previous blogs that I authored I changed themes a lot! In fact I had one site that went through about 5 themes in about 6 months. That’s way too much. I actually got feedback from people stating that they really didn’t like it. They got lost and couldn’t find things like they used to. Now I stick with the same theme for a minimum of 1 year. That’s just my personal rule of thumb.

      Satkrit » That is exactly where I got my theme from. You’ll probably noticed that I changed the size of some images. I resized the font. I created a logo that reflects my sites name. And I made several other changes. But I very much like this theme and I felt like I really came across a gem when I found it.

      Dave Sparks » Ha ha! So I’m not the only one who tries to recruit friends and family into the blogging universe!

      Seth W » Thanks, Seth. I like how you brought to life the concept of helping each other. I’ve found that two bloggers who work together can often achieve much higher levels of traffic than if both had just promoted themselves. Remember this: It takes teamwork to make the dream work!

  • Satkrit says:

    Saw where you got the theme from Nicholas http://www.woothemes.com/2008/08/papercut/

    Great job implementing it :)

  • Dave Sparks says:

    Nice post – sibling rivalry is always fierce, now to get my sisters into web design.

  • Seth W says:

    A great post… stumbled! I think competition is really important. I also think that the best way to compete is by helping each other succeed.

    Now I do not mean taking advantage but rather using each others strengths to increase the others weaknesses. If we as bloggers do more of this then our blogs will be better, our industry will be smarter, and the good ones will grow tremendously.

    Good job at explaining an important idea.

  • Stefan says:

    I agree with you Nicholas and a great example is not only yours, but also what Tiger Woods did for Golf. He came along and pushed everyone to become better just to be able to compete with him.

    Thinking about it I probably can find an example within every area.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Stefan –> It’s true. You can find inspiration from everyone. I’m just finishing up an article right now that I’ll be publishing on Friday about the phenomenal success of the Dark Knight and what we can learn from it.

  • Nazim Khimani says:

    Interesting post. Love it!
    I feel that it takes away from the spirit of the game.
    Do you feel it’s better to be competitive or be better than you yourself previously were?

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Nazim Khimani –> Both. Without hesitation…both. You should constantly be seeking to surpass your own previous milestones and you should be working to learn everything you can from the people around you so that you can be the best in your niche of blogs or websites. So I would say both.

  • Mukund says:

    Wow! That is something wonderful! I will soon shift my domain from blogger to a custom one. Later, I will try to compete with your site! I hope we both win! Lol!

  • Ron Boracay says:

    I can’t hardly agree anymore. Competition is sweet, it makes us more stronger, smarter and eager to reach our goal.

    Without competition, there will be no balance in the world.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Ron Boracay –> Ha ha. I like that. Competition definitely does help us to grow stronger and better as individuals as it drives us to push ourselves to do things that we might have otherwise been too lazy to do.

    • Mukund says:

      Yes! This is what Nicholas expected! No spam and a healthy competition! Great idea and I think he is happy with the performance till now! Even I enjoy interacting with readers like you!

      • Ron Boracay says:

        Same thing here.

        Regarding again the competition thing,what if, your competitor does something to ruin your career or much more authority?

        This is not healthy anymore right?

        But, sometimes, those competitors of yours will just say “Hey, its a part of our strategy, make yours to”.

        What would be the right approach without doing something like what they did to you?

      • ZXT says:

        Well said Mukund, exactly what I am thinking.

  • Pinaybackpacker says:

    That was really a great story. I enjoyed reading it very much. Plus, I liked the fact that you and Jeff are still friends up to this day!

    I agree with everyone here. Competition is great just as long as it is mutually beneficial for both parties.

    I am personally adverse to competitions that puts others at a disadvantage which results to any of the following: anger, discouragement or a sense of failure.

    When it comes to blogging, I don’t really see any of my co-bloggers as competitors because I think each of our blogs offers a unique experience for every reader.

    But you’re right in the sense that whenever I visit a site, I try to evaluate in terms of what works and what doesn’t. So, if I see that another blog in my niche isn’t offering a particular kind of information, and I can offer it, then I would certainly do so. That way i turn their weaknesses as my strengths.

  • ZXT says:

    “Study my site and figure out what you can do to pass me up and I’ll do the same with you.”

    Nah…its like David and Goliath right now. Too early Nick…let me catch up but looks like you are running away from most of us already.

  • akira07 says:

    I love this article, i never saw this topic before :P. When the other thinking competition should be avoided, you think it of it positive effect. Great.

    But actually, i love to compete since a long time. The easiest example is competition in my college life. It’s so interesting to compete with other.

    Competition is drive us to improve our skill more and more, because we want to win. :D

    • Mukund says:

      Accept with what you said akira07. That is what we all bloggers are doing. Trying to increase the number of comments and win the contest here!

      • akira07 says:

        That’s one example :P
        But actually, i’m not aim for the higher in this contest, my english is so bad. I can’t compete with the other with english as their mother languange. Sometime i’m stuck what i will write. So i just comment here like a river flow, it’s not all about contest, but i get so many knowledge here (including knowledge about competition mindset)

        • Arisu says:

          Akira>>

          Well, that´s another part of getting something else out of the competition. The more you write and the more you think about writing a proper comment, the better you get in English ^^

          • Mukund says:

            Perfectly said by Arisu! You yourself said you don’t know what to write which indirectly means your mind is thinking what to write. So, I am sure your English will improve as the time goes on!!

            • Arisu says:

              And we all non-native-English-speakers get to pick some words from everyone ;) At least for me, commeting in this blog is a great way to perfect my English.

              • Mukund says:

                Accept with you Arisu! I am improving my English by commenting and reading comments in this blog! Love all the conversations that are going on here!!

                • Arisu says:

                  Mukund>>

                  Me too, Mukund, it´s also very refreshing having conversations with people all around the world ^^

                  And to keep improving, – it´s said “I agree with you” … if you think that what I said is right. You “Accept” if someone offers a gift, a deal, or to marry you ;)

                  • Mukund says:

                    Haha!! Definitely!! Anyway, you are right. It is always interesting to interact and get lots of amazing information from others. The process of learning is starts just by communicating with others. More we interact, more we learn!!

                    • Arisu says:

                      Yeah, it is! You can learn a lot just reading – you get to learn the language and the topic discussed at the post- but if you try to make the communication deeper you´ll get to practice, to learn even more and to meet people.

  • Elisha says:

    This one great tip that I get today. To improve your blog or yourself, you need to have a competition, to be better than who you are yesterday. A healthy competition I could say.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Train Your Writing Skill =-.

  • Ellen says:

    This mindest works in most things -not just blogs :)
    My husband has played pool for many years competitively. He has always said to find the BEST to play against even though you know you arent their equal YET.. You might not win, but by playing the best, you become better.
    Always strive to become better than you are.

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