My daughter Elise had her first game of netball for the season on Saturday. For those of you that don’t know what netball is, it’s like basketball with no backboard and you can’t dribble. She played brilliantly and the whole team just seemed to come together so they ended up winning.
I’ve heard many parents (myself included) fall into the trap of saying to their children. Winning isn’t important, it’s the fact that you play the game. There is a certain amount of truth to this statement but if winning isn’t important for the little darlings then why do we keep score? As parents, we think that are kids are so stupid that they don’t realise the fallacy of our encouragement.
The fact is that in life winning IS important. It’s important because it inspires you to try harder, push the limits and think through problems.
Could you imagine if Alexander Fleming, who developed the antibiotic penicillin, just pottered along rather than strive to do something that had never been done before? Or how about, Gordon Moore that developed the first microprocessor with Andy Grove at Intel. My guess is that we’d all still be on 4 bit computers.
The whole essence of our education system is to ultimately produce people that do doctorates (plus educate the masses). Doctorates are only awarded to individuals that have broken new ground for the whole of humanity. They aren’t just playing the game, they’re playing to win in their field of study. By the way….there is no reason why you have to be at university to win the equivalent of a “doctorate”.
My wife and I were chatting over breakfast and I was telling her that we are setting some new records at ParkLogic. In passing I mentioned that I was looking towards the next goal. She asked if I was ever going to be happy. Of course I’m happy I responded, I’m happy that I can now push onwards even further.
I love goals because they determine whether I’m winning or losing. I’m not comparing myself to other people (that is really wrong), I’m comparing myself to me. My goals inspire me forward and get the creative juices firing to push past problems and challenges. They are inspiring.
I’ve used the term losing quite a lot in this article but I think that I should say that I actually don’t believe in losing. You see, losing is a mindset. You only lose if you haven’t learned.
For example, when my kids brought home the results from a maths test then I’d talk about the questions where they’d lost not where they had won. So if they achieved an 80% result then we would rejoice in the 80% and work on the 20%. This means the “loss” really isn’t a “loss” at all. It’s a learning opportunity. What’s the point in focusing on the 80% that you already know when you need to learn about the 20%?
If you approach losing as an opportunity to learn then losing suddenly becomes a “win”. This is REALLY important. In life, you can never lose if you truly believe that everything is an opportunity to learn. Granted, sometimes this is tough to do but it’s better than getting depressed.
In business, profit is your scoreboard. If you don’t have any profit then many people think you’re losing. It’s better to think of it as an opportunity to learn, be creative and get that scoreboard turned around.
Winning all the time is actually a big trap. What many people do in business is continuously repeat what they are doing, over and over again until when? Until they fail. What’s the point of innovating if you’re winning? So learning isn’t just for when you lose it’s also when you’re winning.
Andy Grove of Intel coined the phrase, “Only the paranoid survive.” He wasn’t trying to say that we all need to become mental basket cases….he was trying to emphasize that in an innovative industry you had to constantly reinvent yourself whether you’re losing or winning.
So let’s bring this all back to the domain industry. For many years, traffic monetisation was like picking gold up off the ground. It was everywhere! Everyone was winning and partying like there was no tomorrow.
Now look at where we are. Payouts are dramatically less and if you go onto any of the forums people are complaining that PPC revenue is doomed. The majority of domain traffic owners are basically doing the same thing today as they were five years ago…..I hate to say it but you’ve continued to do what was successful in the past until you’re now losing.
There are a few domainers that began to innovate and try different things. They dug shafts 3 miles deep into the earth to find the seam of gold to monetise their traffic better. I know a number of these individuals, they halted the downturn and even increased their earnings. While the majority of the industry was complaining these individuals were innovating. They then picked up a lot of portfolios for a song! Paying a multiple on the depressed prices and monetising at higher than 5 years ago rates.
Yes, the fact that you’re playing the game is important. You can’t win without playing but let’s never lose sight of the fact that you should be playing to win. My advice is to use “losing” as an opportunity to learn and try something different so that you can view every loss as a win! Who knows where this new mindset will lead you…..