Let’s face it, nothing in this world is fair. Having a higher qualification against your fellow interviewees doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get hired. Likewise, competing your product against your competitor’s inferior offering doesn’t guarantee you the sale. You can complain all you want about it, and still not make any difference. Or you can grab the bull by its horns, and make it unfair to your advantage…
What’s A Truly Fair And Level Playing Field
In an ideal world, everybody competes on a level playing field. You compete against your fellow competitors fair and square. You’re all fairly judged based on your merits. If you have something of substance better than your competitors, you’re deemed to have a better chance to succeed when compared to them. So you strive to work hard, and better equip yourself to challenge them. You wish them “May the best man (or woman) win”, knowing that whoever wins, it’s based completely on their merits… Except, such a world doesn’t exist…
In reality, a lot of other parameters come into play. And whether you like it or not, these parameters will skew the selection of the “winner” based on more than just the merits alone… Unfair?… You bet it is… Illegal?… Hmm… Not entirely…
Let’s take a look at the difference between what’s considered a “fair competition” and reality :-
(1) Fair Competition
Imagine a boxing match, featherweight category. Two boxers at their respective corners, practise air-boxing on their own as the referee spells out the rules in the centre of the ring. The bell sounds off indicating the start of the first round. The two boxers advances and meet at the centre of the ring, and the fight begins. They trade punches in quick succession, all the while hopping around with fancy footwork. The lively sparring session lasts for all three minutes, before the bell goes off again, indicating the end of the first round. And with that, both boxers voluntarily retreat back to their own corners.
It’s fun to watch, but the chances of seeing one boxer knocking out another are slim to none. It’s more likely that the lively sparring match will go on for ten or more rounds, before one is declared a winner. And more often than not, it’ll be based on a technicality than an actual knockout.
(2) Unfair Competition
Imagine the same boxing match, but this time in the heavyweight category. Two boxers in their respective corners, calmly looking at one another. No air-boxing or emotional display of any kind.
They have only one objective – to knock their opponent out. And they want to do it as soon as possible, preferably with the first punch, right after the bell for the first round sounds. No need to waste time trading punches, and no need for displaying fancy footwork. Just go up to the opponent, lay down the hardest punch possible, and knock him out cold. And better still, if you could do it with a single punch!…
The Difference Between Unfair And Illegal
In an ideal world, everybody competes fairly on a level playing field. Unfortunately, the ideal world doesn’t exist. And to make things worse, there are too many competitors, all vying for the same limited slice of the proverbial cake. If you’re determined enough to win a slice of the cake for yourself (or the company that you represent), you’d want to exploit all the unfair advantages that you can get.
But before you get too carried away, understand what’s unfair advantage, and what’s illegal. In the same boxing example above, having an unfair advantage would be like fighting intelligently. Do your homework, and find out everything you can about your opponent, long before you meet in the ring. What are his strengths and weaknesses. Then train hard to avoid his strengths, and exploit all of his weaknesses. It could be that he’s often leaving his left side unguarded. So exploit this knowledge by training hard to land a hard punch there. That’s unfair, but that’s also totally legal.
As long as you don’t break any rules, like pumping yourself up with steroids, or turn to game rigging, then you’re okay. The organisers would want to make things as fair as possible, so it’s entirely up to you to do your homework, and amass as much unfair advantage as you possibly can.
How To Apply The Unfair Advantage In Real Life?
There are so many ways that you can apply this in real life. Here are some typical examples :-
(1) Fresh Graduates Interviewing For Their First Jobs
Let’s face it, you’re probably just an average student, with average results. So technically speaking, the candidate with the best results in the exams will be offered the job. It doesn’t matter that you both have the same qualifications when his exam transcript shows higher grades than yours. So if you leave it to the “fair world”, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be offered the job over your top student classmate.
But you can make a difference, and you definitely can get an unfair advantage over other candidates. Understand that first impression speaks louder than your transcript. And understand that your first impression will set your image into the interviewer’s mind permanently. You brush up on your grooming and dressing skills, and learn to carry out an intelligent conversation confidently.
So what if your classmate graduated with an honours degree and you didn’t? You presented yourself as a young executive, hungry for success. Meanwhile, your more academically inclined classmate presented himself as an overgrown kid, not knowing how to even carry out an intelligent conversation. No prizes for guessing who’ll ultimately be offered the job…
(2) Sales Executive Selling The Same Product To The Same Customer
You’re a Sales Executive, representing Company A to sell photocopiers. Your competitor, another Sales Executive, representing Company B, essentially selling the same model photocopiers. You both made appointments to meet the same customer, to sell him the same product, and on the same day too. In an ideal world, and every other parameters being equal, the customer will most likely buy the photocopier from the one who offers the lower price.
But we all know that there’s no such thing as an ideal world. So you take the extra effort to learn about the customer, what his likes and dislikes are. You find out that he likes golf. You do your homework, and learn as much as you can about golfing. So during your meeting, you steer the conversation away from the photocopier, and towards golf. You perk up his interest, and let him carry the conversation as much as he wants about golf. Before you know it, he’d have made the decision to purchase the photocopier from you, even if both your competitor and yourself are selling them at the same price.
(3) Entrepreneurs / Businesses Selling Consumables
You’re a business owner, manufacturing and selling laundry detergent. There are plenty of competing companies, manufacturing and selling the same thing as you do. In the ideal world, you’ll only capture the share of sales equivalent to your share of the market. But you want to sell more than your competitors. So how can you do that?
You run the extra mile, and conduct a market research of who are the main consumers of laundry detergent. You find out that in majority of the households, it’s the wife/mother of the household who actually does the laundry for their families. And you find out that white collared females, age 18 to 55, are often overworked, under appreciated, and tired of balancing both their professional and household responsibilities. You run a branding exercise of your product. You relate your products with strong female role models. Maybe even sponsor television soap operas that have a viewership of the said demographics. You’ll end up exposing and implanting your product brand into their subconscious minds. And before you know it, they’ll start favouring your brand over your competitors’ come grocery shopping day.
The World Is Never Fair – Learn To Live With It
No matter how you look at it, the world simply isn’t fair. You can keep complaining about just how unfair it is towards you. Or you can do something about it.
But what can you do about it?… Simple… Make it unfair to your advantage… How, you may ask?… Buy us a cup of coffee, and we’ll help you discover, develop, and maximise your unfair advantage.