When my brother and I were young we played together with various building block sets.  Some were metal erector sets.  Others were wooden log cabin building sets or plastic block sets.

As the situation is with most brothers we didn’t play well together.  If I saw him building something better than me then it became hard for me to concentrate on what I was building.  His must have been better because he had some better or unique shaped blocks that I did not have.

So I had two deplorable strategies to remedy this.  One I snuck some of his pieces into my pile.  Ok…I stole some of his materials.  Yet, the best strategy was telling him how ugly his was.  By making him feel bad about his creation I covered up the less attractive work that I created.  The truth is all that it did was make me look like a jerk to the other kids watching us.

After we grew up we both ended up working in the music industry.  He must have forgiven me because I became the Vice President of his music management company.  I learned that helping him build something great made me more successful.  It was a much better plan for me that paved the way to who I am now.

He had developed great contacts and he had a knack for numbers.  He also had a way of dealing with people that was much different than mine.  Instead of tearing them down…he always worked to build them up.  He genuinely cared about people and it caused loyalty in most of them.

Some people  did not learn from his example.  We would sit on tour buses and in meetings listening to artists tear other artists careers down.  They would talk about how what the other artist was doing wasn’t working.   Never mind that the artist they were talking about had #1 songs and packed concert dates.  According to these sour grapes, they were still doing it wrong.  It was a great lesson to me.

Why do we think that we have to tear down those around us?  I’ve sat in corporate boardrooms where people will not put out their best ideas.  The reason for this is because of fear that someone would use their ideas and any credit taken from them.  Even worse is that they fear the heavy criticism.  They know that certain people in the meeting can’t wait to tear down their ideas.

You will never build the best building, machine or dream by tearing down someone else’s.  So why would you waste your energy doing that?  Focus your energy in the right direction.

Concentrate on your dream and your calling.  If you see someone else doing something great don’t be jealous or envious.  Instead, see what you can learn from them.  If it’s possible see if you can partner your strengths with theirs.  Maybe the two of you can create some great opportunities.

What are your strengths?  If you concentrate on these strengths what opportunities could you see on the horizon?