Competition is for Losers
Peter Thiel famously said, “competiton is for losers.”
To compete means to be playing a zero-sum game; a game with a I win, you lose dynamic. Many things in life are zero sum. Sports, dating, and searching for internships are a few examples.
What I think Thiel means is to opt for positive sum rather than zero sum games. A positive sum game is one in which all players win. If I win, you win too, but it can also benefit society as well. Here, you’re incentivized to cooperate rather than compete.
Anything that’s creative is positive sum. Such as building a company, painting, and writing a blog.
This is why I find writing so enjoyable. I’m advocating for others to write not only because I want to but because if you win, I win, and everyone else impacted by your work wins as well.
But what’s important is to know when to compete. Playing zero sum games are unavoidable.
From a financial perspective I can’t afford to take another semester off. Thus, I’ll have to play the internship game this fall.
The trick here is playing positive sum games that help you compete when needed.
In my case, I may of not had a relevent internship this term. But through writing online I have built an asset that can be used to differentiate myself from the competition. Not only is writing a critical skill that sharpens your thinking but it also attracts the right people and opportunities to me.