From Competition To Connection

I used to think that my company, Mirabilis Media, (the one I created when I was 30 year old and sold it 10 years after, for quite some money), was one of my biggest achievements. Honestly, I don’t think that way anymore. It was an achievement, but I start to doubt that it was my biggest one.

By any mainstream standards, being successful with your own company is a great achievement. Many people are working their butts day in and day out to make it happen.

And once you’re getting a little bit of grip, once your products are becoming adherent to the market and your name starts to be recognized, well, something interesting kicks in and kinda ruins the whole thing. It’s called competition.

Am I the first one in the market? Am I the second? Everybody and their mother knows that only the first 3 players are counting in any field. And only number one and number two can get a major investment. If you have 25% of the market you can do that and if you have 45% you can do the other thing. If you are the third in a market with two big and powerful leaders you can play your cards in a certain way. Everything is about coming up first.

Competition is deeply wired in our structures. Especially males are subject to its influence. Roll back to the time when we’re hanging around in small groups, hunting on the fields of Africa and you’ll start to understand why. The alpha male used to have all the privileges. If you were number one, you got the most fertile ladies, the best food and shelter and pretty much the entire respect of the group. Until somebody else challenged you, that is.

I guess that spreading away your genes as far away as you could, imposing your own DNA over your peers and just surviving in a very difficult environment was the biggest achievement you could have during those times. I’m inclined to agree with that.

But times have changed. Surviving, as important as it is still is, is not the biggest issue anymore. Our social structures, our environment, our capacity of creating life supporting materials have evolved. It’s way easier to survive and to spread your genes today, than it was 50.000 years ago. If that’s all that you want, I mean. As a matter of fact, I think that spreading your genes became the easiest thing we can do nowadays.

Then why we’re still so pushed by these ancient instincts? Why we’re striving so much to pick up on some numbers and always try to come up in the first place? Why we still have this pathological fascination with numbers and fight?

I admit I haven’t find an answer to that question yet. I tried, believe me, for years, but I couldn’t find it. And when I was just about to give up, a few years ago, something happened. Basically, I found a new question. And that new question is: What would happen if we could replace “competition” with “connection”?

And the answer to that questions was: “Wow!”.

Competition versus Connection

If you’re in a competition state, everybody is your enemy. If you’re in a connection state, everybody is your partner.

If you’re competing, you’re spending resources, like in losing them. If you’re in connection, you’re sharing resources, like in growing them.

If you’re competing, there is only number one that makes you happy, like a pyramid that can only be traversed from the top to the bottom. If you’re connecting, you’re happy everywhere, you’re in a graph, a web that can be traversed any way you like.

If you’re competing, your body is in a fight or flight situation, you can either win or lose. If you’re connecting, you don’t have anything to lose or to win, there is only healthy expectation.

If you compete, your self-esteem becomes a result of the competition: if you win, self-esteem goes up, if you lose, self-esteem goes down. If you connect, your self-esteem is driving the connection process: the more you have, the more people you attract into your connection area.

If you compete, you win a prize. And, in order to win another prize, you have to compete again. And again, and again. If you connect, there’s no prize to be won: your created value is spread constantly in the graph and returned to you constantly from the same graph.

As I started to draw all these simple comparisons, I realized that I kinda shifted to connection right after I sold my company. A few of my formers competitors in the market were puzzled by the fact that I didn’t invest more, that I didn’t create even a bigger empire than the one I sold. Some of them still are puzzled and maybe think that I have something under the table, ready to explode when the time will come. Well, I don’t. Because I don’t compete anymore. I connect.

So, to make a long story short, I still don’t know what pushes us to competition. And I may never find out what it is. But I do know something better than that.

And that’s the value of a true connection.

Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner

The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I’m blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You’re invited, by the way.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. WOW!! Dragos!! I seriously need to say I love this post.

    Competition versus Connection; connection over competition. This is so true.
    Sometimes I’m striking to be number one too, be the fastest to achieve success, be the fastest to finish my work, be the top, fight to show up on first in google search, be number one in this and that.

    But my mindset had change from the past that I’m not and shouldn’t competing with others, but with myself. To strive harder to achieve more and higher achievement comparing with the past me, instead of other people. This tends to be so true as when we comparing with others, and especially we’re competing with “low level” competitors, we tends to be easily satisfied with our achievement; and on the other hand, if we’re competing with “high level” competitors, we tends to feel it’s too hard to even get near to them. It’s mentality that shakes us.

    Like in blogging, this is exactly what I learn from many great bloggers = Connection over competition.
    Helping each other and promoting each other, team up together to launch a new project or a new product, to providing much greater value to readers/customers. It’s really a win+win+win situation to be in this power of connection, instead of competition.

    Thanks for the post Dragos, have many thinking comes to my mind about this, awesome post. Perhaps I’ll write one blog post about this in near future for my readers and credit to this post. =D

  2. I think you can find connection in any area.
    In my business (personal development) I see that all are my friends and partners.

    We are helping to educate the world in the value of personal development, customers usually don’t just follow one persons advice. They use multiple sources, so why not connect with as many sources as possible and share the exposure?

    The benefit you will give each other makes it all work it.

  3. […] *Inspire to write this post from a recent blog post that I read in Dragos’s blog, hereby credit and thanks to Dragos for the wonderful writing: […]

  4. Hi There,

    What a instant paradigm shift when you compare two words together. I believe that we all should look to connecting with others when it comes to building businesses. I think competition starts when we lose focus on what is most important and why we started the business in the first place, to make a difference. On the flipside, I do believe that there are appropriate times for competitions such as in sports or a friendly game of monopoly for example.

  5. When you are competing you always think about someone getting ahead of you if you don’t rush. So, it just degrades your work. But when you enjoy the connection, you learn and explore. Inspiring post, for me as a student and now a ‘connector’.

    By the way, the new blog design looks amazing! Tweak some fonts, though. You are fab, Dragos Sir.

  6. I love this post.
    I’ve often heard that life is a race and this kinda indicates that life is all about competition. If you want to succeed, you do it at the expense of someone else otherwise it’ll be you whose left behind.

    I always knew there was a flaw in that concept. Therefore, ever since my childhood days, connecting is what i do!!
    This things should be taught in modern day schooling. “How To Connect and Not Necessarily Compete”
    I am quickly becoming a fan of yours.

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