Saturday, September 15, 2007

Life Is Competitive

I realize that life is competitive. (Oh, wow! Tell me something new.)

No, I came to this conclusion, because I thought of it mathematically.

There is no way out of that. Even if I had the power to automagically give everyone on earth $10,000,000 each, the economic classes will still remain roughly the same. Property prices will just sky rocket based on each people's bids. There will be a certain percentage of people who will fritter away their money, COE's will skyrocket. (Pareto Principle will emerge.)

In business you may be one of the first movers in a new market, but there will be people who will see your success and start copying your product.

Because life is competitive, being agile, and stronger in business is a necessity. In an industry, consolidation occurs, and only 2-3 winners to emerge. One big winner, a second smaller one, and perhaps a third minority. The virtuous cycle is tapped on by these winners. The successful ones beget even more success. They tap into the economies of scale. It is a pattern that repeats itself over and over in industries. Car manufacturers, Airplane makers, Internet search engines, etc. In mathematical terms, clustering happens. Customers will start clustering around the best providers.

That is the reason why working hard is a feature of life. But working hard shouldn't be the target of work. It is a side-effect. I've seen too many bosses and workers pursue working hard as a goal. It is not a goal. It is the side-effect of pursuing a goal. Just like happiness and joy shouldn't be the goal, but rather the side effect of serving others. Commanding someone to work hard is, in a sense, the same as commanding someone to be happy.

I think the reason why people pursue the side effects is because they don't have clear cut goals in life and in business. A couple automatically works hard because they want their child to be well-fed, and provided for. They don't make it a goal to stay up late at night and lose sleep for the sake of losing sleep. But I see that in some offices. Peer pressure, expectations from the boss. "If I don't stay late in the office, people/my boss will think that I'm a slacker."

These thoughts remind me of a scene from "The Pursuit of Happyness" starring Will Smith. In that film, he played a man who worked hard because he had the goal of providing for his family. He worked hard because he had a clear cut goal of completing his tasks before 5pm. (It was not an option, he had to leave by 5pm so that he could queue up at the homeless shelter.) He then cut the goals into smaller sub-goals like shaving 8 seconds of each cold call by not hanging up with the phone but by pressing the hook with his fingers.

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