37 Ways to Beat Your Competitors

JERRY HYDE defies categorization – Psychotherapist, coach, guide, mentor. He’s trained in Tantra, been buried alive, fasted in the wilderness for days; his most apt calling card would readPsycho-Therapeutic Shamanic Coaching Guru. Though he’s been working therapeutically for over 18 years now, Jerry’s not a distant blank screen analyst who conforms to any particular approach or system; he works from the ‘ledge beyond the ledge.’ In short, he’s Gonzo.

Gonzo therapy is an irreverent and left-field approach with an emphasis on celebrating and revealing latent creativity.

Based in London, Jerry’s international clientele is made up almost entirely from people in the arts. Jerry also runs Vision Quest Retreats. For the most adventurous amongst you: The next one is in Wales this July. His first book, Play From Your Fucking Heart, is due out in 2014.

Creative Therapy for Creative People: www.jerryhyde.co.uk


In his monthly column TRUTH AT ALL COSTS, Jerry encourages you to question, to challenge, to live creatively on your terms, to go Gonzo.


Do do that voodoo that you do so well, for you do something to me that nobody else could do.”

Cole Porter said that…

“Time for a hard truth: you need to be better than each of your competitors in at least three ways if you want to survive. Yup, even if your competition is Tesco, Virgin and Coca Cola, you’ve got to find a way to do the dastardly devils a disservice.”

Smarta.com said that…

“So I said to the gym instructor, ‘can you teach me to

do the splits?’ He said, ‘how flexible are you?’  I said,

‘I can’t make Tuesdays’.”

Tommy Cooper said that…


A lot of people seem to be hung up about competition, so let me just clear that up for…

There is no competition.

No one can do… what you can do.

I used to be a very mediocre guitar player.  I used to compare myself with Hendrix, and in the face of that colossus I just gave up.  I mean – what was the point?  I was never, ever gonna be that good right?

But one day, strumming my three chords, from somewhere came the realisation – no one can play like me.  No one.  Many people are ‘better’ in many ways.  But no one can play like me.

Likewise, as a therapist, I’m the greatest in the world.  At what I do.  I’m the most amazing Jerry Hyde that ever lived.  There are a great many therapists out there with far a broader clinical knowledge than I’ll ever have, broader technical skill, more empathy, more compassion, more wisdom.

But no one can do what I do.

And what’s more, not only does that give me great confidence to bring all that I am, my lack of attachment to competition means that I always feel that there’s enough to go around.  There is no threat.  No watching my back.  Complete artistic freedom.

I hate this fascistic obsession with the ‘new’.  The pressure to invent.  There is no new, other than the newness of our own uniqueness.  Everything you do is brand new, regardless of whether it’s been done before.    Because you’ve done it.

Ask a bunch of five year olds to paint a picture of a flower.  They’re not nervously looking over their shoulders to see how the other kids are doing, to see who’s interpretation is the best or the most cutting edge.  Who’s breaking new ground.  They just paint flowers, beautiful, messy, botanically inaccurate flowers.

They don’t compete.  Yet.  They haven’t learned concepts of better or worse.  They just create.

Comparison is death to creativity.  It blurs our vision, and you either come out better or worse, crushed or swollen, neither of which provides a stable objective platform from which to deliver.  There is no better or worse.  There is only you.

When I started writing I compared myself to a great many writers.  Unfavourably.  I remember being signed to a very big literary agent and the first thing I said to him was, “I have to say I’m surprised you took me on, because I can’t write.”  And he replied, “that’s exactly why I took you on – you don’t know ‘how’ to write, which gives you a uniqueness.”  It was a great lesson.  Then of course I started to look around to see how other authors did write.  I picked up from somewhere that Stephen King wrote for at lest eight hours a day.  Which I simply couldn’t, providing me with further evidence that I wasn’t a ‘real’ writer.

Flicking through a colour supplement one day I saw an article on how different authors structured their working day.  One of them revolutionised my way of thinking.  He explained that he worked from his garden shed, in which he had a laptop, a PlayStation and an electric guitar.  “I never spend more than twenty minutes writing,” he explained.  “I don’t have the attention span, so I flit from my guitar to a computer game and back to my laptop…”

It blew my mind.

So… you don’t have to write for eight hours straight?  You can play guitar?  And computer games?

It made me realise that to research how others do… anything… is to ignore my own creative rhythm.  My creative rhythm, which is unique… to me.  Which is right for me, and only me.  Comparison is irrelevant.  The best time for me to write will have nothing to do with the best time for you.  And what’s more it’s a fluid thing – sometimes, most times, I write best when I’m fresh in the morning, I’m writing this late at night after a particularly hard day at work.  Just because that’s when the muse arrived.

Find your own rhythm and the work will flow.

Another writer remarked that whenever she sits down to the keyboard that’s when all the distractions really kick in.  Hell yeah, the minute I open the screen that’s when I’m on eBay buying useless shit that I don’t need, checking Facebook, Twitter, Amazon… I just thank God I’m not into porn otherwise I wouldn’t get past line one.

Art school was the most uncreative environment I’ve ever been in.  I had fun and took a lot of acid, but I didn’t create much.  I was too busy nervously looking over my shoulder to see how the other students were doing, to see who’s work was the best or the most cutting edge.  Who was breaking new ground.   The first week our tutor came into the studio, took a girl’s painting from the easel and frisbeed it out of the third story window.  “You all think you’re the next Picasso,” he sneered.  “Well get over it, ‘cos you’re not.”

Thanks mate – that told us.

I’m aware this piece is a little more sober in tone than my previous ones.  I haven’t even used the word fuck yet.  But this is serious business people, sacred ground – dare I say it… important.

Expressing your uniqueness opens you up to criticism, playing it safe and producing more fear driven homogenised shit keeps your head below the parapet.  Do what you do the best that you do it and don’t worry about what anyone else does or thinks.

There’s a great Tommy Cooper joke that comes to mind:

“My wife sent me up into the attic the other day.  While I was there, I found a

painting and a violin. I took them to an antique dealer and he told me that I had a Rembrandt and a Stradivarius.  Unfortunately, Rembrandt made lousy violins and Stradivarius was a rubbish painter.”

Do what you do, not what other people do, not in the way that other people do what they do, but in the way that you do what you do.  And remember – you are the greatest living you that ever lived.  There is no competition, so get on with it…

There are no excuses.





Published: June 3rd, 2014

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