Being Competitive

In chapter 5 of Florman’s book, Florman begins to work for a construction engineer named Joe Blitz.  Joe is extremely competitive and assertive.  When he was bargaining for a price he would “make an offer and then outwit his quarry”.  If he got the bid his surliness would take over for his own people.  He would demand his team to get off their butts if they began to fail.  He had the “nice guys finish last” mindset.  A huge part of competition is risking failure.  In Jon Carrol’s essay, “Failure is a Good Thing”, Carrol writes about his younger daughter who is a trapeze artist.  After doing the same act for a decade and finally became bored when she realized that she was not learning anything new, so she changed the act.  She risked failure and public embarrassment.  However, she took risks just like Joe Blitz. I remember back in high school, I had a football coach that liked to take risks.  He would alter the playbook on a weekly basis to adjust to the other team, knowing that there was a high risk of failure because we only had less than a week to practice.  There was also the chance that the other team could adjust as well and we would be caught off guard.  Our coach would demand that we get the adjustments down and was quite surly to us much like Joe Blitz, yelling at us when we would screw up.  I believe that taking risks is a huge part of being a successful competitor.


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