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February 28, 2013 // 12:00 AM

The Creator Versus the Competitor

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creator-versus-competitorHuman beings are competitive animals by nature. There is no other way to explain how we made it from the valleys of Africa to the species we are today. If you are a Bible-toting person, you may describe competition in terms of us leaving the Garden of Eden and going from wearing leaves to wearing jeans. The human race is always striving to be bigger and better.

So maybe we weren’t that advanced in the ancient days. However, rock throwing and cave drawing serve as perfect examples of the early beginnings of the competitive spirit. Being competitive is built into our DNA. Yet without creativity, competition would never exist. Did I just stumble on the greatest mystery since, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” Possibly.

So, now I ask: Which came first, competition or creativity?

In my previous blog post, “Being a Creative Hustler,” my first point states, “Stop Being Competitive and Start Being Creative.” There are 7.1 billion people on this planet. Ultimately, there will always be someone who looks better, runs faster and thinks quicker than you. It is the law of probability and averages. Sorry to burst your bubble, but get over it. If you want to be competitive, then you must always strive to be better than yourself.

As Emile Coue says, “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”

This is not about “self help,” but it is about how agencies should stop analyzing the competition. I am sure we all watched the show “The Pitch.” Do you agree about knowing the other agencies you are pitching against? Do you want to know that they are asking the same questions as you? Do you want to see them? How do they dress? How do they act? How do they look?

Personally, I could care less. I am more concerned with remembering to stay true to myself and keep my organization focused on what is important: WINNING!

So I say to you, if you want to be a Creative Hustler, stop being so competitive. Start being creative.

Even in the land of organized crime (a true obsession of mine I admit), we see this strategy. Lucky Luciano, the father of the modern American mob, saw greater opportunities in ditching the cutthroat competition and decided to be creative in how he organized himself and his colleagues. What followed was decades of success. By being creative, Luciano was able to set up his organization in a way that everyone shared in the successes, and those who wanted to be competitive ended up destroying themselves.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. And like most rules, it was made to be broken. Do what works for you. For my Creative Hustlers and agency, we don’t look toward the competition. In fact, we just seek to out-create the competition. The winning will come naturally when you are honest and look for truth in work. After all, the phrase “truth in advertising” doesn’t exist without reason.

I leave you today with this quote — a quote that seems to sum up this whole idea of being creative rather than competitive: “Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.” - John Updike

Topics: Marketing & Advertising

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