“Pssst! Tom!” whispered Damian as shook his cellmate awake. Tom only responded by grunting and rolling away from the unwelcomed interruption to his sleep.
“Do you hear that? I think Tyrone is going to escape tonight. He is filing the last bits of his window bars free… I see a pair of head lights flashing just beyond the barbwire fence. It must be his getaway car. I have already filed down my window bars a couple nights ago. I am going to beat him to that car.”
“Can I come too?” croaked Tom as he reluctantly rubbed the sleep away from his eyes.
“You can’t… the driver is demanding $1000 in cash and is only willing to pick up 1 inmate. Any more, and he is going to get himself into too much heat.”
“Oh… that is too bad” murmured Tom in disappointment. Before he rolled back to sleep, he mumbled “Good luck Damian. Hope we never have to see each other again.”
“Haha! I hope to never see you again too!” grinned Damian as he quickly filed the last bit of the window bars free and threw his make-shift rope into the midnight air.
When Damian finally scaled down the prison wall, he swore under his breath. For he had underestimated how quick Tyrone was. He didn’t expect his rival to be so far ahead of him.
Damian quickly sprinted over to the chain-link fence and the two men were suddenly engaged in a race of their life. They climbed, tripped each other, and fought tooth and nail. Just as the two of them were a stone-throw away from the getaway vehicle, a prison guard appeared behind them with a pistol pointed at their backs.
“Get down on the ground or I am going to shoot you both where you stand!” barked the voice of authority. As the two men reluctantly complied, the officer came from behind and handcuffed their wrists together.
He then reached into each of their pockets, stole their money, and then entered the getaway vehicle. Before the car drove away, the window slowly lowered. That was the last time they ever saw Tom.
Comparison and competition counterintuitively restricts our creativity. Those who don’t obsess over what their competitors do, are freed to come up with truly unique solutions that no one could have ever expected.