When I started Four Minute Books, one of the premier destinations for book summaries was Actionable Books. They popped up on Google all the time, and their catalog was massive. I remember looking at their site, thinking, “My god, almost 1,000 summaries! And here I am with just a handful.”
Eight years later, I happened upon them again. They now had a whopping 1,155 summaries in their library. “Wait a minute…” I thought. I checked our post count, and, sure enough, on Four Minute Books we now had 1,277 summaries. Somehow, somewhen, we overtook them — and I didn’t even realize it.
It’s easy to overestimate what you can do in a year, but we also have a tendency to underestimate what we can do in a decade. Focus compounds, and the best way to focus is to not just ignore the competition but outright forget it.
That’s exactly what Actionable Books did, by the way. They built a corporate training software, and over 1,000 companies use it. Were the book summaries ever their main focus? I don’t know, but in their own lane, they are very successful. They just kept driving, and I’m sure that, with or without realizing it, they, too, have overtaken many a “competitor” along the way.
There’s that saying that where losers constantly cast jealous looks towards winners, the winners simply chase their next win. But winning means helping people and creating value, and that indeed not just takes but deserves all of our attention.
Forge the path only you can forge. Maybe someday, you’ll spot someone in your rear view mirror who, only a few moments ago, seemed to be far ahead — but even if not, as long as you’ve got your eyes set firmly on a better future, you’ll always be on the right track.