I like to play strategy games.
In multiplayer strategy games, one of the most universal truths is this: If two or more players adopt the same strategy in a game, they will almost certainly lose to someone who adopts a unique strategy.
If you compete for the same resources and opportunities as another competitor, you’re making the game harder for each other and for yourself.
Meanwhile, the player who has no competition achieves his aims unimpeded.
So too in business and in life.
Whenever you hear about someone who tries to sell you on a business model with the premise, “I did this, and it worked for me. It will work for you,” you should be skeptical.
Whatever this is, the more people who do it, the harder it will be to succeed with that approach.
And, so, the easiest path to professional success is:
Develop a unique strategy. Build a monopoly. Exploit it. When it ceases to be a monopoly, do something else.
This is also the philosophy of Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and the first investor in Facebook.
Every other strategy requires you to compete for ever-scarcer resources in an environment of ever-more-intense competition. But while this path is easier than competing for scarce resources, it is still not easy. But you’re better off spinning your wheels trying to find your monopoly than competing in a Red Queen game where you must work ever-harder just to stay in the same place.
The concept of monopoly does not mean you have to start your own business to succeed. You can replace the word “monopoly” with “niche” and the truth holds the same. The moral of the story is not one of entrepreneurialism, but rather of evolving one’s approach to avoid competition.
For in the end, the best way to win the competition, is to avoid competition altogether.