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I recently heard philosopher and author Irwin Raphael McManus say, “What makes humans different from every other species and what humans can do that no other species can do, is materialize the invisible. Humans actually create out of their imagination. In the same way that ants create colonies, and bees create hives, and beavers create dams… humans create futures.”

We create communities, capitalism, customs, companies, cars, comedies, commodities, conversations, care facilities… Creative industries like cinema, music, advertising, technology… Science… Medicine… And, of course, romantic ideals like love affairs. We write sci-fi books that resemble the way we live today… We are incredible animals.

The antithesis of creativity is not a lack of imagination. Nor dullness, blandness or boredom. The antithesis of creativity is fear. Often in business, fear of competition arises. While competition can inspire us to be better, comparison can lead to distraction from our own true north, purpose, and potential. Competition builds a scarcity mindset. Rather than embracing creativity from possibility or abundance, we start looking at others, using them as a stepping stone, limiting our potential, inhibiting our one giant leap forward.

Take Apple, for example. They revolutionized smartphones, tablets, etc. They reinvented entire categories and, arguably, lifestyles when they created these products. Why? Because they focused on creating, not competing. It’s almost always those who are focused on creating that are imitated by others who are trying to compete.

In the olden days, if someone had to win, someone else had to lose. In 2024, there are unlimited markets and technology to invent new markets. Fiat versus crypto. Uber versus taxis. ByteDance versus Meta.

“Humans create futures.”

Irwin Raphael McManus

Imagine you are an artist. You put 100% focus into your canvas. Your focus is your craft, your work, bettering yourself, and creating to the best of your ability. You are focused on creating rather than competing. Paul Gardner said, “A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.”

Reflecting on this, one of the elements that made our agencies great was not thinking about what other people or companies were doing. We rarely read trade publications, entered awards, or even knew what others in our industry were doing unless my staff told me, verbally or via a website link. I found that distracting. 

We spent our time looking at macro trends outside of our industry and meeting lots of interesting people. Meeting interesting people gives us ideas and builds relationships. Ideas create futures, and relationships have the potential to create collaborations.

To paraphrase Dan Sulivan, from Who Not How: The success of your life can be measured by the number of quality collaborations you have going on at any one time…

So as we look to collaborate and create, we are no longer coming from a scarcity mindset, which is a competitive mindset. We are looking at what’s possible. That is our natural state, imagining infinite possibility, creating futures, as Mother Nature intended.

“Competition is for losers.”

Peter Thiel

Be the creator, not the competitor.

#wearecompadres #goalsmadereal