Competition is a natural occurring phenomenon—one of particular consequence in free market economies and societies prone to individualism. So Americans are understandably good at it, having created not only the most successful economy in the world, but more financial mobility for our people—vastly more. With little variance throughout our history, 80 percent of those in the lowest economic quintile were out within ten years. Forgive the cliché but “We, the people, did that.”

We recognize that most people respond to competition by getting bitter or getting better. We choose the latter—if a business, as quickly as possible! Our history at Schmidt Associates has been a continuum of changing circumstances that afforded us chance after chance to choose better.

We also discern that humanity balances competition, as first seen in childhood. Who among us does not recall either being or seeing the child chosen last for a team, the student with no help and no resources presenting their science fair project, or the newbie at an egg hunt discovering a colorful prize only to have it snatched away by faster, grabbier hands?

We all own a story like that. Today, we also have stories of opponent team members facilitating victory for a less able or disabled competitor. When humanity and competition coexist, both improve.

“Competition is a painful thing, but it produces great results.”

— Jerry Flint