The Magic To Compete In Life

In two previous posts, I noted the loss of jobs at Walt Disney World to Central Floridians that are being handed out to those coming internationally to work in the United States. Clearly, that’s important to you if you live here. But what if you are simply one of the millions of people who come here for “fun in the sun” every year. What does any of this mean to you? This is part three of that discussion. (See Parts one and two here) What I hope to offer is a magic formula for being successful and competing in today’s world. Here are some successful ingredients to that formula:

1. You will have to compete. Maybe it’s not someone from France or Chile competing with you. But competition exists and it’s going to get tougher moving forward. Wherever you live, you need to realize that you  are in a global world, and that people out there are hungry to do what you do–probably even hungrier. And they may have paid a higher price in preparing to do the job. So acknowledge the competition.

2. Know that life isn’t fair. In Bill Gates’ 11 Rules of Life, Rule #1 was life isn’t fair–get used to it. You may not like trade policies or removing visa caps or union policies or the boss over you, but life is what it is. Everyone experiences life being unfair to them even if that isn’t what you want for yourself. It was John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I wonder if John was thinking that when sitting in his bed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort signing papers to terminate the Beatles? It probably wasn’t what he was thinking just hours before his life was taken prematurely.

All of us, whether famous or not, are dealt unfair blows. Mortality is not about avoiding them. It’s about addressing them.

3. Shake off that “World Owes Me a Living” entitlement attitude. You’re simply “Goofy” if you think that. That’s what the grasshopper sang in the 1934 Disney short, The Grasshopper and the Ants. The truth is the world owes us nothing, We need to shake off what we think is due to us, and get down to work.

4. Expect humility and failure on the way to success. J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, who once saw herself as “the biggest failure I knew”, noted: “Life is difficult and complicated and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.” In the old days, displaying humility involved wearing a sack cloth and dusting one’s self with ashes. But it was the Sherman Brothers who said that up from the ashes come the roses of success. Getting humble means learning from failure when it comes.

3. Be Good at Something. Near the Mad Tea Party sits a tribute to Randy Pausch. He is a former Disney Imagineer who was the author of  The Last Lecture prior to his succumbing to cancer at an early age (another individual who was dealt an unfair blow in life). It reads as follows:

“Be good at something; it makes you valuable…have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome. –Randy Pausch

That’s good advice for all of us. Find what you do well, become the very best you can be at it, and success will follow in its wake. It certainly will help you to find your place at life’s table.

Truth is, that’s the magic formula for competing in today’s world. We’ve got to get humble, get serious and get competitive. Get that additional education. Learn a new skill. Network more than ever. Benchmark best practices. Learn from everything you observe–even Disney. That’s what this web site is all about. And we hope to bring it to you.

J. Jeff Kober