Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Axiom 20: A Gentleman's Agreement

"A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up. It's all a matter of pride.-Nancy Lopez

"Anytime you find someone more successful than you are, especially when you're both engaged in the same business - you know they're doing something that you aren't.
-Malcolm X

Hanging on the wall in my office is a signed contract simply titled, "Gentleman's Agreement". It is a friendly bet that me and my longtime college friend James signed back in 2005. Ever since we have known each other I've used James as a barometer for measuring my own success. We both graduated at the same time with the same college degree and possess similar skill sets. We both have similar work habits, interests in human nature, and resources available to us. Therefore at the time we both signed this "Gentleman's Agreement" it seemed natural to enter into a friendly competitive wager.

The bet was to see who could have a net worth of $1 million first. If neither one of us can get to $1 million the bet ends on June 2nd, 2020 and the person with the larger net worth wins. The prize? A $2000 bottle of Louis XIII cognac to be presented at the Imagine Monument in New York City's Central Park.

Today's date marks 7 years (and the halfway point) since we signed this bet. To my knowledge we are still evenly matched. Its hard to say who will win. Regardless of who wins the money is not the most important thing in this scenario. It is about friendly competition, goal setting, new experiences, learning accountability, striving to be successful, and using friends to build you up (not break you down).

The one thing you can take away from this is to begin writing down your goals. Its harder to cop out on yourself when you see what you want to accomplish written in front of you everyday. I'll go further into this topic in an upcoming axiom about time management. It is also important to use your network of friends to bounce ideas off of and use friendly competition when necessary.

Strive to become better. Hold yourself accountable by writing down your goals and sharing them with friends. The payoff is often much better than just money alone.