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You've Got to Be in it to Win it

October 2016

You've Got to Be in it to Win it

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” ~ Tim Ferriss

This sounds so obvious, but in order to get ahead in any area of life, or to win a free reading or another kind of freebie, or to win any competition for that matter... you have to be in it to win it.

I was a little surprised this year when not many people entered the free monthly email reading competition after it was first announced. The only requirement was that people specify in one sentence why they would like to have a reading. I wanted this to be easy but still require some minimal effort to rule out anyone who may feel ambivalent about having a reading (this has happened before when it's been super easy to enter a competition, for example by clicking 'like' on a facebook page) – I prefer not having to chase people up to convince them to claim their prize :)

Are free readings not popular then? Far from it. When free readings have been offered previously with no competition involved, there's never been a shortage of people who want to sign up for one. The first time I did this there were 100 appointment slots and they all booked out within a few hours!

The only explanation I can think of is that a lot of people don't believe they'll win and therefore don't feel that it's worth entering a competition at all. In fact, during the facebook free-reading competition in 2014, one person's name kept popping up for me as someone who would benefit from having a reading at the time. All he had to do was press a button to enter and he would have won a reading, but this didn't happen (he did, however, end up having a free reading later when he signed up for the free email reading trial a couple of months later).

When you find out how many people are actually entering a competition or playing to win, you may find that you're not competing against that many people.

Paperclip for Sale

I was at a how-to-sell-on-Ebay seminar a couple of years ago and the presenter invited members of the audience to participate in a competition, in which each person would need to stand up and pretend to sell a paper clip. Whoever was deemed the best salesperson would be granted a special prize including a fancy dinner.

No one volunteered. In the end, the presenter somehow managed to convince two very reluctant people to stand up and try to sell a paper clip. They were judged to be equally bad at selling and so they both won the prize. While it appeared at first to be a competition involving everyone in the seminar room, each of the two participants discovered that they only had to compete against one other person, who wasn't even very good at selling!

It's been a while since I read the book, '4-Hour Workweek', by Tim Ferriss, but I remember he described a competition and task given to a group of people which seemed extremely difficult to do. I don't recall the exact details but from memory it may have involved getting in contact with a number of hard-to-reach celebrities and then interviewing them. The prize sounded amazing, but the task seemed so impossible that no one really went for it or made an effort to win the competition. The author pointed out that any one of them could have tried and even if they had done poorly, just by making an effort and submitting anything they would likely have won the prize because they weren't actually up against any real competition. The conclusion was that if you want to win or be exceptional at something, it's good to remember that you're not going to be competing with the masses but only a small proportion of the population.

Simon Says

Last year I attended an event where an audience of thousands was instructed to play the game, Simon Says. When the eventual winner stood up on stage, everyone was asked to raise their hand if they had believed it was possible to win and had any intention of winning when the game started. Not many hands went up. As the speaker pointed out, it turned out that we weren't actually competing against thousands of people, we were only competing with 10 or 20 at the most.

So I think the moral of the story is that if you really want something, believe it's possible because in order to go for it, you need to know that you actually stand a chance. Otherwise why waste the time and effort? More importantly, it's good to realise that you're probably not competing against as many people as it originally seems. The odds may be in your favour.

Of the people who entered the free monthly reading competition in the first month that it was announced, every single one has now claimed a free reading. So if you're keen to win too, just enter the comp as outlined at the top of this email – you may have a better chance of winning than you think :)

Good luck!

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