Why Being Your Own Worst Enemy is a Good Thing

I recently read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. One of many gems from this book is to…

Try to be better than you were six months ago.

It’s simple enough to get, but let me add to that.

Quite honestly, people don’t care about the widget you’re trying to sell them or the service you want to provide.

Not to be negative, but people are too busy worrying about themselves to care about you.

But, here’s how to get them to do what you want.


From a marketing perspective, it’s more than leveraging the overused “what’s in it for me” term. While this hackneyed phrase smacks of truth, it only speaks to part of what I’m getting at.

Bear with me…this may take awhile but is worth it. I promise.

People seek justification for what they believe about themselves…how they see the world…or understand their state of affairs.

In you, they can find validation.  And, your widget may help them do so.

Examples always help.

For instance, consumers love Harley-Davidson products.


Not because they make great motorcycles, which they do, but rather from what the company stands for.

Harley-Davidson means freedom. It’s about capturing the American spirit. That’s why some people have tattooed the logo on their body. They find themselves in the brand.

Here’s another example.


Steve Jobs believed in empowering the individual spirit and challenging the status quo. He also happened to found a company that made computers.

When people stand in line for hours on end for the release of new iPod or iPhone, it’s not just about getting a good quality device. It’s about them.

People not only want a great phone or MP3 player, these consumers are making a statement about being early adopters of technology. A new iPhone symbolizes who they are.


For me, I believe in the power of thought.

I know, from experience, that people can make profound changes in their lives and do things that seem impossible.

I used to be a fat, dumb kid. My grades were awful. I didn’t apply myself. In my early teens, I sat around and watched TV all day. I grew into an overweight, debt-ridden young adult.

Then, I changed.


By thinking differently. You are what you think about. That statement is so much more than just something you hear from self-help gurus.

For me, I chose to think about being handsome, thin, wealthy, healthy and smart. (All right, I’ve still got a ways to go but…I’ve made SOME progress.)

I have also embedded this belief in my writing. My hope is that people read my books and identify with Tim or Doug or Jon.

I want my readers to find inspiration in the struggles of an overweight theater lover.

When Dan writes about a redneck from Florida, who’s recently come out of the closet, he too wants to see his fans to have a wow moment along the way.

Anyway, I’ve digressed a bit from the original intention of this post. Let’s get back on track…


By being better than you were the day before, you minimize the competition. You’re your biggest enemy.

I don’t try to write better than the Stephen Kings and James Pattersons of the world. I want to be a better writer today than I was last month. (And if you read this post before I edited it, you may think I have a ways to go.)

I find inspiration in Ben Comen. Do you know who he is?

Ben’s a young kid, a runner whose biggest competitor is himself. He’s greatest challenge is to beat his own forty-minute time. He doesn’t try to be better than his teammates who can do the same race in twenty minutes.

Forty minutes versus twenty? You might think that’s awful.


Ben suffers from cerebral palsy, yet he loves running.

When he races he’s always last out of the gate. He even falls several times along the way but he always gets back up.

But one of the most beautiful things about Ben’s story is his teammates—what some might consider his competitors.

You see…people can’t help but cheer for Ben. Once they finish, they end up helping him and racing alongside him. When Ben falls—all sweaty, dirty and bleeding—they help him back up.

Check out Ben’s story above. If it doesn’t move you, I don’t know what will. If you enjoyed, share this post or write a comment below.

May you experience bounties of joy, prosperity and health.

2 thoughts on “Why Being Your Own Worst Enemy is a Good Thing

  1. Reminded me of an old friend in high school, his loping walk with his crutches and his smile. That is a beautiful inspiration and thanks for sharing it.

    1. Rick Bettencourt January 9, 2015 — 11:20 pm

      Pat, I’m so glad you enjoyed. Your friend sounds special.


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