I have never been an athlete in the traditional sense. I skated… yep, okay- I mostly used the skateboard as transportation. The point is there wasn’t competition, we were a bunch of kids hanging out, mostly on a loading dock, trying to get better.
Sports and war are the most common used analogies for business. And at times that might make sense (team building, sense of purpose, working as a unit). But in real life it doesn’t, it is not the same, not even war. The reason why is limit. War is taking, it is defending, and sports is limited by rules about how to play and they both are limited by one prize; winner take all. So, it stands that there are a lot of business books out there that rely on sports and war to make their point. It might seem like winner takes all is the point of business, but it isn’t. The point of business is to fulfill needs, to give. The most successful businesses fulfill the needs, wants, and desires of their customers. It only becomes a competition when you take your eyes off the customer and focus on what the other guy is doing.
Skating as a kid wasn’t about beating my friends. It was about getting better at skating. It was enjoying the process. It was encouraging them to get better and them encouraging me to get better. The only time we lost was when we didn’t skate. Skating is a sport now, like a real sport with competitions, and all the bullshit that goes with it. But when we did it it was fun, it was for the love of doing it. It was about friendship and adventure built around doing.
Competition is going to happen. Some people like to have a pissing contest. We don’t have to join them. In fact we can take a win right now. Most of us feel like we have to compete. We feel like there is something we must overcome, or someone who is gunning for us or our job. We don’t have to feel that way. All we have to do is focus on getting better, encouraging others, and helping the people we serve. That is it. The win we can go for is in the pursuit of getting better, it is in creating abundance, in sharing our triumphs. We can learn a lot from sports and war, but we can’t learn peace from them. The win in my book is how much peace do you have in your life. How much of it is bullshit and how much is real. Peace isn’t something that lasts if your life is based on beating someone else, because there is always someone else. Peace is a win; we never talk about.