Does it Need to Be a Zero-Sum Game?

It’s a zero sum game when one trades in the commodities markets. One goes long, one goes short. As the price rises or falls, someone wins, someone loses. The sales representative competes for shelf space on the retailer’s shelf. It does not matter what kind of retailer; a hardware store, a grocery store, a pharmacy, a clothing store, or a pet store. It is a matter of getting your product on the shelf. If you are the winner to have your product on display to buy, someone else has lost. You make a commission dollar, and somebody loses a buck.

The zero-sum game means competition. The other guy is the opponent, the adversary. So too, if it is competition, we must be keeping score. If we are keeping score, we are then comparing ourselves to the other players in the contest. Who has the greatest market share? What is our sales ranking? Who have more products? Whose product through reviews is rated as best in quality, taste, performance, value, durability, or looks?

As individuals, advice and wisdom always say to not compare yourself to others. Coaches advise that each of us are special, that there is no one else like us. Comparing accomplishments and determining who is the leader with the most and the best possessions only takes one down a never ending spiral.

Wisdom states that we need to focus on ourselves; free yourself from comparisons. Celebrate both the accomplishments of others and ourselves. Never let jealousy set in when hearing of another’s success, instead be genuinely happy for them. An anonymous quote advises, “Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.”

Now here is a question to ponder. I do not have an answer if in fact there is an answer. What if all businesses followed the same wisdom that is offered to individuals? If companies only focused on their team members, their products and services, and their customers and clients? Businesses did not follow market share statistics, seek to know more about the competition, or the profits of competitors. What kind of business world would we now have?




Brad earned a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

DEI + Power = Organizational Justice

5 things I wish I knew before starting my first (real) job.

artwork by talented illustrator @rachodooles on instagram

Four Common Hiring Mistakes

Protecting employee wellbeing during the second transition to home working

EB-1: High Salary or Other Significantly High Remuneration

Diversity, Inclusion, and the Work Place: A Perfect Mix

How to design a healthy home office

Give Your Dream Another Goddamn Shot

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brad G. Philbrick

Brad G. Philbrick

Brad earned a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.

More from Medium

Struggles of a wannabe musician

ArtShould You Really be Taking an Art Degree at University?

Limiting student debt relief based on income is a terrible idea and a technological disaster in the…

The work battle is not the same for everyone