In today’s world, everything is very competitive. It’s very easy to start a business, to write an article, to publish an ebook, anything. Anything you want to do, it’s quite easy to get started with it. If you’re into music, home recording is very accessible and easy. If you’re into film-making, digital cameras and video softwares can be bought at any electronics shop. If you’re into writing, it’s very easy to publish an ebook online. The costs of doing something you want to is very low. It’s not hard to get into anything in today’s world. The hard part is setting yourself apart from the thousands of others who are doing the same thing.

And the solution isn’t always to work harder. In fact, in today’s world, a lot of us can’t really work any harder – at least not without killing ourselves, figuratively and literally (look at the depression rates and such and you’ll realize that). What you can do is “put the same amount of work into a focused campaign that ends up meaning that each [thing you do] is more valuable” (quote from Seth Godin in his podcast with auctionbytes).

As Seth Godin said in the podcast, “[the world] is a haystack, and [you] are a needle. And you could sharpen your needle all you want, but it’s still going to be a needle in a really big haystack. And I think the way you win is by getting out of the haystack.”

In the haystack that is today’s world, you win not by getting a sharper needle, but by getting out of the haystack. You win by setting yourself apart from the rest.

Note: Quotes were edited because in the original podcast, Seth was talking about E-bay auctions specifically. I believe, however, that the ideas can be applied to any area, it’s not only limited to auctions.