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Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Okay, I stole this one from “The Godfather–Part II.” But, hey, it’s a great rule.

It’s easy to gravitate towards the people you like and avoid your so-called enemies. After all, who wants to be around someone who’s got it out for them? This can be a big mistake. Sure, it’s nice to be surrounded by friends and people you can trust. But you still have to keep a close eye on your adversaries and competition. Know what they’re up to at all times.

It’s like that old proverb: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. In other words, it’s easy to plan for and deal with what you know. It’s the unknown that can come back and bite you in the ass.

Sometimes this means you have to be cut-throat. It’s not the nicest way to deal with people, but if you really want to reach your objective, sometimes you have to make the hard decisions. It sends a message that you mean business; that you don’t play games; that you’re a serious person and you need to be taken seriously.

And as I said before, consistency is key. You can’t waiver or show any weakness. Once you show your colors, you have to stick with them until the end. The moment you compromise your integrity, your competitors are going to notice and they’re going to figure out how to use it against you, whether you’re playing a sport or working your way up the corporate ladder or even setting an example for your children.

Never let your guard down. The moment you feel comfortable or untouchable, that’s when you’re the most vulnerable.

As a matter of fact, I would say that one of the keys to staying on top is to never get comfortable. When you do it usually leads to laziness, which inevitably creates an opportunity for one of your competitors to swoop in and gain the advantage.

Take my Red Sox, for example. It doesn’t matter if they’re leading the division by 10 games, they never take their eyes off the Yankees because, well, they’re the enemy. They’re dangerous, and you never know when they’re going to make a run. So it only makes sense to keep one eye on them at all times and be ready for them if they do.

That way, when the playoffs come around, we can put’em out of their misery.

Rob’s Notes

  • Know what the competition is up to at all times.
  • Never get comfortable and let your guard down.
  • The Yankees are the enemy.
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