Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

You Don't Need to Dominate or Crush Anything

A hammer crushing some nuts

There are so many blog posts out there telling us that we need to dominate our niches. That we need to crush … whatever it is we need to crush. Posts that, whether they intend to or not, fuel a hyper-competitive, win-at-all costs ethos in some readers.

That dominate and crush rhetoric steers you to treat everyone as your enemy. And what happens if you don’t dominate or crush? Popular opinion, for what it’s worth, says you’ve failed. It says they’ve beaten you. It says you’ve lost.

That’s not a healthy way to live or work. You’re always looking over your shoulder. You’re always worried or fearful of what the so-called competition will do. You’re driven to become more aggressive, more ruthless. Often, you wind up being someone and something you’re not. Someone and something you never wanted to be.

Instead of being that dominating, crushing juggernaut, why not be yourself? Why not look at others in a different light? Don’t treat them as enemies. Look at them as potential allies or colleagues or collaborators instead.

Up until a few years ago, I was considered a top technical communication bloggers. For whatever reason, people in that field considered me influential. I knew (and still know) several other bloggers in that niche. But I didn’t go out of my way to try to dominate that niche, to try to crush those other bloggers.

Instead, I worked with them. We exchanged guest posts, appeared on each others’ podcasts, and promoted and shared each others’ work. Sure, we had our disagreements but we were civilized about that and learned from each other.

Not only that, I encouraged and helped a few new bloggers in the technical communication niche. Many people wondered why, thinking that I was just giving the competition (their word, not mine) help that would let those new bloggers steal my audience (again, their words not mine). That never happened. There was a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation. Working with other bloggers made for a stronger, more diverse niche. Working with other bloggers made me a better blogger and, in a small way, a better person.

That strength and diversity helps everyone. You share and expose new ideas. You get thinking more deeply about what you’re involved with. You learn. You grow. Others learn and grow with you, continuing the cycle.

Isn’t that better than trying to scramble to the top of the heap, constantly looking over your shoulder, being perpetually worried about getting knocked back down?

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