How To Win Every Competition You Attempt

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Consider this:

If you were an applicant and there are 30,000 (Thirty thousand) applicants to 100 jobs at a single company, who are you competing against? 30,000 people or 100 people?

This question is one that people rarely (if ever) ask.

Who is your actual competition?

Let me give you a clue to the answer.

What Football Teaches Us About Competition

There are 20 clubs each season in the English Premier League. This past season, the clubs were Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton, Manchester United, Southampton, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Stoke City, West Ham, Hull City, Swansea, Norwich City, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Cardiff City and Fulham.

If, for example, I am the manager of Fulham FC, and I want to win the EPL title next season, who is my competition?

The answer to this question is the clue.

As the manager of Fulham FC, if I seriously wanted to win the EPL title, and I was willing to do everything it takes, I wouldn’t be studying what the manager of Aston Villa is doing.

Why?

Because even though Aston Villa has been in the EPL for many years, they are not going to win the EPL title anytime soon.

But….

If as the manager of Fulham FC, I seriously wanted to win the EPL title, and I was willing to do everything it takes, I would be studying only what the managers of five clubs out of the twenty are doing.

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I’m sure you already know the clubs. They are:

1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Liverpool
4. Manchester United
5. Arsenal

Why?

These are the clubs that really want to win. These clubs take the necessary steps to win. They buy the players that can make them win, they get the coach that can make them win, they put their resources and time to winning the title, not avoiding relegation.

As the manager of Fulham FC, these are the clubs I’ll spend weeks studying. These are the clubs I’ll watch the videos of their past seasons. These are the clubs I’ll study their history.

After studying them, I’ll then create a strategy to snatch the EPL title from their hands, because I now fully know who I’m competing against.

How to Apply This

Let’s get back to my first question. Who is your competition? 30,000 or 100?

100 is the answer.

In case you don’t appreciate this, 100 is one-third of one percent of 30,000.

This may seem scary. But it’s actually a very good thing. Because, you can now construct in your mind the type of person that will be among the 100. What type of qualifications will this person have, and how can I get them? What kind of connections does this person have, and how can I get them? What kind of preparation is this person making, and how can I prepare like that?

This way of thinking will seem unusual to many people. But believe me, this is the way to win.

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If you want it, if you really want it, you’re not competing against the losers. You’re competing against the winners.

And to beat a winner, you have to find the winner’s strategy, replicate it and then find a way to make it better.

And better.

And much better.

When you’ve done this, that is when you’ll win.

What Can You Do Now?

1. Tell me (in the comments) what you learnt from this and what you can use it for in the future. Also check the box marked “Check before you leave your comment to get these in your mail”

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How to Waste Your Life (Part 2)

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Read Part 1 here.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you went totally broke today?

This is not a rhetorical question. Answer it before you read further.

What’s the very worst thing that could happen if you went dead broke today?

Think about it for ten seconds.

For most people our age, the answer is something like: “A lot would happen, but it would not totally destroy me.”

Why?

Because when you’re in your early to mid-twenties, let’s face it— being broke happens, a lot.

And we survive it, because we are still young, with few responsibilities beyond ourselves. The most that would happen is that you move back in with your parents, spend a week thinking about your life, get over it and move on.

Taking Risks

Consider the life of a guy in his thirties. He is probably married with kids or a baby-on-the-way. He has to pay for family food, rent, school fees for his kids, medical expenses for his wife and kids, clothes for his kids, PHCN (or whatever) bills, car fuel, generator fuel, little snacks his kids like, car maintenance and on and on.

Going broke at this time is a disaster.

That’s why the best time to take risks is now.

Life is never going to be easier than this. You will never have more energy than right now. For many of us, we are in the best physical shape of our lives. We don’t have arthritis, severe back pain or any of the health problems older people face.

It will never be easier than now.

The best part of being young is that we have more time on our hands than we’ll ever have. Once you get married, visiting friends becomes a luxury. Your kids fill up your time and thoughts, almost completely. Is that when you want to start your dream business?

Investing For The Future

These are the best years to accumulate compound interest on a retirement investment. The easiest way for most people to get rich is to start early. The time and money we have in our twenties is extremely valuable. Most people who are rich and comfortable in their thirties are that way because of the decisions they made in their twenties.In his book, The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson shows this better than anyone else I’ve read or listened to:

Let’s say you and your best friend are both twenty-four years old. You both […] decide [to put] away $2000 a year into an IRA, so you’ll retire at age sixty-five with over a million dollars.

Your friend starts doing it now.

You wait. You don’t get around to it this year, or next, or the next. In fact you procrastinate for the next six years.

At the beginning of year seven, you ask your friend how his IRA is doing. You are stunned when he tells you that he has finished. After investing $2000 a year for six years at 12%, he’s all set. By the age of sixty-five, the little financial ball he started rolling would have snowballed into over one million dollars, even if he never puts in another penny.

“That’s it,” you decide, it’s time for action. You start putting in your $2000 each year. How many years will it take before you’ve caught up to your friend? In other words by what age will you be able to stop investing your annual $2000 like he did? You can’t believe your eyes when you see the answer.

You’re going to have to keep investing that $2000 every single year until the age of sixty-two. Your six years of procrastination have cost you thirty-three years of investing. That’s twenty-seven more years and $54,000 dollars more invested just to arrive at the same place.

[Note from Uchendu: Naturally, I was shocked at this. So I checked out the numbers myself. They’re correct. You can do this yourself using Financial Calculator app on Android. Set compounding to “Quarterly”.]

Now think of our parents, who live in a time when the Federal Government has handed over pensions to private firms. Some of them didn’t start their pension contribution on time. When they retire, their monthly pension from such firms will be too little for them to live comfortably.

It’s not a beautiful situation.

But we can have a different future if we start now.

What Can You Do Now?

1. Tell me (in the comments) what you learnt from this and what you can use it for in the future. Also check the box marked “Check before you leave your comment to get these in your mail”

2. Think about a friend who really needs this. Copy the link from the address bar and send it directly to him or her or scroll down and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

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Photo courtesy Keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

How to Waste Your Life (Part 1)

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Never mistake motion for action.
– Hemmingway

Have you ever suddenly realised that you are wasting your life?

I found a funny write-up on Rajiv Satyal’s blog that talks about how a whole day can seem very busy, but achieve nothing in the end. Take a look:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Pepsi that I had been drinking.

I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Pepsi aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over. I see that the Pepsi is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye–they need to be watered.

I set the Pepsi down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

the car isn’t washed,

the bills aren’t paid,

there is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter,

the flowers don’t have enough water,

there is still only one check in my check book,

I can’t find the remote,

I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.

Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I’m really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail.

Yeah, you can laugh. I thought this was funny at first.

Until I sat in a dark room for a few minutes and thought about it. Then I realised that many of us live our lives exactly like this.

Social Media

When left to ourselves without some form of self-control, the natural impulse of human behaviour is to go after every attractive distraction. It’s the same thing that happens when you’re working on your computer and you receive a notification on your phone.

At this point you have two options:

(1) Pick up your phone and check the notification

(2) Forget about the notification, and move your phone to a place where it cannot distract you

What do you do?

If you pick option (1), you check the notification and see “SHOCKING: Lagos Pastor Kills Wife”.

The headline is too powerful to resist, so you open it and read the story. You’re just about putting your phone down when you notice that you have 5 notifications on Facebook.

You open Facebook to check them, but just before you do that, you decide to look over your timeline for a few seconds. On your timeline, you see a link, “MUST READ: 11-Year Old Girl Marries 40-Year Old Man”.

Once again, you decide to check it out. As you read through, you shake your head in pity for the girl and feel angry at a country that lets this happen. You decide to share it on Facebook.

As you scroll to the bottom of the post to share it, you see a “You May Like This” heading. Underneath it, you see a link, “VIDEO: Crocodile Eats 50-Year Old Man Alive”.

You decide you want to watch the video. At this point, something in your head tries to remind you that you have something to finish. You decide to quickly check those Facebook notifications before getting back to work.

But before you do that, an Instagram notification pops up. And for some reason, you love Instagram, so you briefly but joyfully check out the picture. The first few comments are funny and you want to see the rest.

A sense of shock comes over you when you look at your watch and thirty minutes have just disappeared!

But…….

What if you had picked option (2)?

You would have probably finished the task already.

This is classic human behaviour. We usually pick the path of least resistance when faced with many choices. Any serious marketing strategist or mobile app developer knows this. They make their products easy to get and easy to use, so it can easily take up your time and you can easily talk to your friends about it. And their product spreads and they make money off your vulnerabilities.

ATM Cards

An ATM card also makes things easy. With such a card, you don’t need to get to the bank to withdraw cash. This makes it very easy to spend money, which in turn makes you buy things you don’t really need.

One of my brothers was complaining to me that if he had no ATM card, he would easily have a lot of money in his account. He makes some money off a service business he does, and clients pay directly into his account.

But because he has his ATM card in his pocket everytime he’s out, he spends unnecessarily. When he sees something he would like to have (eg. a nice shirt while out with a friend @ Mr. Price), almost without thinking he gets his ATM card and pays for it.

He ends up feeling bad when he gets home, because he has enough nice shirts already and could have saved that money.

How Does This Affect Us in The Long Term?

Living in the world today is not as easy as it used to be, economically speaking. It’s very easy to join our friends and complain about the situation (which never solves anything).

In the ’70s and ’80s, a young man would graduate from university and have a place of employment waiting for him in the Federal Civil Service. He had immediate access to a car loan to get a car. He also had a housing allowance, which he could trade in for a home in the Federal Staff Quarters.

But all that has ended.

Graduates are everywhere, competition is tough and jobs are difficult to get. It is easy for us to throw up our hands in despair.

And most people do that.

But even though a job is difficult to get, an internship is a good option.
It is better for a graduate who has completed NYSC to apply for an internship and begin working in his field immediately, than spend months or years waiting for paid employment.

Why?

To gain Valuable Experience

A person who has done 2-3 internships in 2 years, instead of endlessly waiting for a job can apply for an experienced position and get it. A graduate who has only been applying for jobs in that time cannot. He can only apply for Graduate Trainee positions. Besides that, when you’re actually inside your industry, you can see opportunities that outsiders won’t see. And you can more easily land the job you want.

Why Don’t We Choose To Do This?

Many people already know these things. The knowledge is not the issue. The issue is actually taking action.

It is very easy to join everybody else and complain about the country and the job market. This never changes anything. Even in very developed countries (eg. USA, France), people face the same situation.

People in general like to spend time doing things that don’t involve the chance of being judged or rejected—at the expense of the result they really want.

For example, I want to start a small business and I spend 1 week trying to decide what colour to make the font of my business card or what type of logo to use. Evidently, this gets me nowhere, and I pile unnecessary bills on my budget.

Yet, I do it because the real task of getting in front of potential customers to market my service is hard, but preparing to print my business cards makes me feel like I am moving towards something.

It is hard for us to think outside the box to get a different solution, because all our friends are doing the same thing. And we feel safe in the crowd.

Conclusion

Motion is not action.

Motion is when a graduate applies endlessly for every job and doesn’t get any. Action is when the graduate is already interning at a company, and his boss tells him to apply for an in-house position before it is advertised.

Motion is when a student buys textbooks and handouts to read. Action is when the student uses the books to answer one year of past questions.

Motion is when a person who wants to start a business starts by spending money printing business cards and getting on social media. Action is when he gets the first two clients to pay.

Motion is when I say I want to read an ebook on PHP this afternoon, and I open my browser window and keep Facebook & Twitter open, attempting to multitask. Action is when I open Facebook & Twitter after I have finished reading the ebook.

Motion makes you feel like you’re on your way to achieveing something. Action actually achieves something.

What Can You Do Today?

1. Leave a comment in this format: “I’ve been doing ___________ for too long, but this article has taught me ______________, so I’ll start doing ___________.” (Note: You can copy, paste and edit this)

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Photo courtesy joyreactor.com

What is Greatness?

(This was posted first on Reddit)

From Robert, trainer for Team USA:

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I was invited to Las Vegas to help Team USA with their conditioning before they headed off to London. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in the past, but this would be my first interaction with Kobe.

The night before the first scrimmage, I had just watched “Casablanca” for the first time and it was about 3:30 AM. A few minutes later, I was in bed, slowly fading away, when I heard my cell ring. It was Kobe. I nervously picked up.

“Hey, uhh, Rob, I hope I’m not disturbing anything right?”

“Uhh, no. What’s up Kob?”

“Just wondering if you could help me out with some conditioning work, that’s all.”

I checked my clock. 4:15 AM.

“Yeah sure, I’ll see you in the facility in a bit.”

It took me about twenty minutes to get my gear and get out of the hotel. When I arrived and opened the room to the main practice floor, I saw Kobe. Alone. He was drenched in sweat as if he had just taken a swim. It wasn’t even 5:00 AM.

We did some conditioning work for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Then, we entered the weight room, where he would do a multitude of strength training exercises for the next 45 minutes. After that, we parted ways.
He went back to the practice floor to shoot. I went back to the hotel and crashed. Wow.

I was expected to be at the floor again at about 11:00 AM. I woke up feeling sleepy, drowsy, and pretty much every side effect of sleep deprivation. (Thanks, Kobe.) I had a bagel and headed to the practice facility.

This next part I remember very vividly. All of the Team USA players were there. LeBron was talking to Carmelo and Coach Krzyzewski was trying to explain something to Kevin Durant. On the right side of the practice facility Kobe was by himself shooting jumpers.

I went over to him, patted him on the back and said, “Good work this morning.”

“Huh?”

“Like, the conditioning. Good work.”

“Oh. Yeah, thanks Rob. I really appreciate it.”

“So when did you finish?”

“Finish what?”

“Getting your shots up. What time did you leave the facility?”

“Oh, just now. I wanted 800 makes. So yeah, just now.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This is what greatness comes down to. The ability to practice extremely boring things over and over and over again, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE ALREADY PERFECT.

Do People Criticize You? Read This and CHEER UP.

Do people criticize you?
Do people criticize you?

Have you ever tried sharing your new and different idea with people?

If you have, criticism is something you must have experienced. One of the worst parts of criticism is when you have to live with these same critics everyday. For many people, continuous criticism makes them give up. The few who move forward to success are powerful sources of inspiration.

This quote by Theodore Roosevelt will spur you to continue striving in the midst of critics.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly;

Who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed;

Who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.

So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Like Nations’ Cup Winning Coach, Stephen Keshi, who tried something entirely new and different last year with the Super Eagles, don’t fear the new and different. Have the courage to pursue your goals. Soon, your story could also be told.

Stephen Keshi: Man or Superman?

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There are few things better than watching this Stephen Keshi-led home-based Nigerian side coming back from three goals down at half-time to winning 4-3 without penalties.

As I sat and criticized the players at the end of the first half (I’m human too), I never imagined it ending 4-3. I never believed. I’m still in slight shock. But it happened.

Like @Sir_Yinkz said on twitter:

Whatever Stephen Keshi told the Boys in the Dugout should be packaged and sold at Shoprite.

It should.

The level of self-belief and motivation needed to turn around a 3-0 scoreline is difficult to generate in 15 minutes. But Stephen Keshi did it.

Ejike Uzoenyi

I saw the faces of Chigozie Agbim and Ejike Uzoenyi at the end of the first half, when they were gathering to pray. They were close to tears. But Stephen Keshi did it.

And to show you how much Stephen Keshi did; remember the end of the match? When Keshi sat down smiling while the whistle was blown? Did you notice that the coaching staff didn’t run to hug the boys? They came around, hugging Keshi and congratulating him.

Keshi believed in these boys. My dad recalled today how Stephen Keshi repeatedly told Joseph Yobo that Nigeria would win the Nations cup. And Yobo did not believe him. But Keshi went on to do it. And the same thing happened when Nigeria won: The coaching staff and players came to rejoice with Stephen Keshi, not Sunday Mba.

The commentator on SuperSport constantly compared this match with the Liverpool vs AC Milan final, where Liverpool came from three goals down back up to 3-3. And won on penalties.

As far as African football is concerned, today’s win is both better and more important and will go down in history as one of the best football matches. Ever.

As you read, take ten seconds to do this: Put down your phone or tab or whatever you are reading this with and give a round of applause to Stephen Keshi, the man of the moment, and the best Nigeria coach in recent history.

"Flog me," the child said.

Believe it or not, children appreciate strict discipline–a lot, as long as it is tempered with LOVE.

Teaching kids has taught me that kids want to be disciplined to go in the right path. They never say it, but they know when it has left. And they miss it.

No child remembers a teacher who ONLY made them laugh. They remember the teacher who had high expectations of them and never let them be complacent.

When you interact with kids, don’t focus on entertaining them. The TV is doing that brilliantly. Give them a purpose. Let them know how much potential they have.

With time, they’ll respect you and obey you.

The magic combination is DISCIPLINE and LOVE.

They’ll NEVER forget you for it.

GEJ vs GAY

GayHenry Kissinger wrote in the foreword for “From Third World to First” by Lee Kuan Yew that,

The continents interact, but they do not necessarily understand each other. The uniformity of technology is accompanied by an implicit assumption that politics, and even cultures, will become homogenized. Especially, the long-established nations of the West have fallen prey to the temptation of ignoring history and judging every new state by the criteria of their own civilizations. It is often overlooked that the institutions of the West did not spring full-blown from the brow of contemporaries but evolved over centuries which shaped frontiers and defined legitimacy, constitutional provisions, and basic values.

For this lone reason, the “nations of the west” should let Nigeria alone. We are not Americans, neither are we British. We are Nigerians. We have our values, we have our beliefs. We have the right to make our own rules and our own mistakes.

We are a religious nation. Maybe not righteous, but religious. That has its advantages. It also has its disadvantages.

The assumption that “culture will become homogenized”, and “judging every new state by the criteria of their own civilizations” is almost normal for many western nations today. And it is shortsighted.

No nation develops by photocopying the values of a more developed one. Nations grow by making use of the resources and values of their own country in intelligent, productive ways.

I have nothing against gay people. But no person or country has to support being gay or gay marriage.

GEJ vs GAY

GayHenry Kissinger wrote in the foreword for “From Third World to First” by Lee Kuan Yew that,

The continents interact, but they do not necessarily understand each other. The uniformity of technology is accompanied by an implicit assumption that politics, and even cultures, will become homogenized. Especially, the long-established nations of the West have fallen prey to the temptation of ignoring history and judging every new state by the criteria of their own civilizations. It is often overlooked that the institutions of the West did not spring full-blown from the brow of contemporaries but evolved over centuries which shaped frontiers and defined legitimacy, constitutional provisions, and basic values.

For this lone reason, the “nations of the west” should let Nigeria alone. We are not Americans, neither are we British. We are Nigerians. We have our values, we have our beliefs. We have the right to make our own rules and our own mistakes.

We are a religious nation. Maybe not righteous, but religious. That has its advantages. It also has its disadvantages.

The assumption that “culture will become homogenized”, and “judging every new state by the criteria of their own civilizations” is almost normal for many western nations today. And it is shortsighted.

No nation develops by photocopying the values of a more developed one. Nations grow by making use of the resources and values of their own country in intelligent, productive ways.

I have nothing against gay people. But no person or country has to support being gay or gay marriage.