Is your “Nemesis” stopping you from being the next Steve Jobs?

Written by Kaama Joy

Last week ‘The Atlantic’ published an article called ‘How an Online Nemesis Can Help You Succeed’ by Taylor Lorenz. The article explored the benefits of having a ‘nemesis’, particularly for the benefits of progressing in your career. The thing is, I actually don’t agree!

Why? Because social media has created a world where only the best version of ourselves is uploaded online, we rarely see the failures or the harder aspects of people’s lives. Everything is whitewashed, sugar-coated or face tuned. We photoshop our lives just as much as we photoshop our pictures.

The author’s argument is that having a nemesis drives a healthy competition to do better and therefore achieve more.

Spend less than a minute on social media and I guarantee it won’t be difficult to find someone that will make you feel less than or insecure about your situation, relationship, job or appearance.

So why are we encouraging people to focus on what someone else is doing and use that as our driving force?

Comparison is the thief of joy.

My fear with advocating to find a nemesis is that unhealthy obsessions can grow from this idea and by using someone else’s achievements as your impetus to succeed, you will never evolve into something original and always feel inadequate.

The most likely result of this is that you become an ‘also ran’ or follower, rather than a leader.

There is an obsession on the internet at the moment with using ‘haters’ to motivate you. And while I applaud the ‘turn lemons into lemonade’ mentality. Instead of focussing on the negative, we should be advocating to find a mentor or collaborating with like-minded people and cheering on other people’s success from the sidelines.

Ultimately, a comparison will block you from creativity and can lead to questioning your decisions and direction in life.

At The Social Producers, we say every day:

“better is good, but different is infinitely better”.

If you want to be a lemming then find yourself a nemesis. The best-case scenario is that you are slightly better than them in some areas of your life.

However, if you truly want to dominate in an industry, then be different and stay focused on what YOU are doing.


Be a Category King. Not a follower.

A category king is a relatively new term defined as market-share leaders, in particular business sectors, who often wind up creating the majority of the market value relative to their competition.
The book “Play Bigger” by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead & Kevin Maney deep dives into how rebels, innovators and the most exciting companies create new categories and dominate markets.

Today’s most recognisable companies such as; Uber, Airbnb, and Apple didn’t look to what others in their industry were doing and try to do it better. They created a whole new category and revolutionized not only their industry but other industries around them.

They did this by shifting the conversation and telling a story that allowed their audience to visualise and understand that their brand had recognised a problem or gap in the market and solved it with their product or service before anyone had even realised it was an issue.

These brands became so successful at becoming a category king that users now don’t understand how they ever lived without these products and services. A nemesis will always block your vision from achieving and creating something new and innovative.

The trend for having a ‘nemesis’ on social media might be having its moment (there are more than 260,000 posts on Instagram including the hashtag ‘#nemesis’) but to create anything new and be a category leader you only need to focus on yourself. Find motivation from those who you can learn from and the people/mentors in your life who can lift you up and inspire you.

Stop trying to beat others at their game and invent an entirely new one.

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