You've heard all the variations. "If you're gonna win, you've got to get up earlier than everyone else." "Push harder than everyone else." "There's always someone working harder than you." You've got to "hustle." While you're sleeping, someone else is working through the night. Be so essential that you can't get laid off...And so on. And so forth.

All right, we get it. The "secret" to success. The "hard truth."

Come on.

It's not even a secret.

Compete.

Fight.

Win.

This is the basic fact of life: the best will win.

I was talking with Ken Lubin in the woods while the Agoge-002 candidates were repairing the Death Race stairs. If you don't know Ken Lubin, know that he's a master networker, and if you're looking to hire someone amazing who will solve all of your company's problems (maybe not all of them), he's the guy to call. He's like the Wolf from Pulp Fiction. You call him, he will solve your problem. Or he'll send someone who can.

Ken is an expert in competition. He's a recruiter, so it's basically his job to know who can get the job done and who can't. Because he's had so much experience with job interviews, he also knows what it takes to get the job you want.

Do you want to know the secret?

It's not a secret.

To get picked for a job, you simply have to be the best candidate. If you're second-best, you'll be second pick.

Everybody knows this.

But for some reason, people forget.

They go in for the job interview unprepared and unqualified, and then they get pissed off when they don't get the job. They feel like something has been taken away from them. It's like Rocky losing a fight and then saying "the system is rigged." No, Rocky, you just didn't win. You got knocked out by a flying fist.

It's physics.

There's always someone else who can do what you can't.

I remember when I was a kid, I was working for my father doing some construction. My father comes up to me and says, "You see that big rock over there?" I say yes. My dad says, "We have to move it. Can you move it?"

I look at the rock and it's this massive boulder. There's no way I can move that rock. But I give it a shot anyway.

I'm working for an hour on this rock and I can't move the thing. I call over my father and tell him, "Hey, I can't move this boulder."

"No problem," he said. "I'll find someone who can."

That's all it took. I didn't want to be the guy who wasn't good enough. I didn't want to let someone else step in and do the job I couldn't do. I found a way to move that friggen boulder.

My dad told me later that he knew all along that I could do it.

That moment has stuck with me for decades...

Do you "really" want to get that job?

Ken Lubin has some advice for anyone who "really" wants to get a certain job. You ready? Here it is. Do research on the company and on the person interviewing you. Arrive early, because "on time" is late. Show up with a plan to solve the company's problem, and demonstrate that you're more invested in this opportunity than any other candidate.

Good advice, Ken.

But when you consider the fact that competition is competition, and the fact that in order to be picked for the job, you have to be the best--Ken Lubin's advice is commonsense.

"Do your homework before your job interview." If you're invested in the company, doing your homework will come naturally because you care.

"Walk into the interview with a solution." If you're the right fit for the job, the solution to the company's problem should come naturally to you anyway. This is a textbook example of "preparation meets opportunity."

"Follow up." What, did you forget you wanted a job here?

"Educate yourself." Skills get you the job.

And so on. And so forth.

If you don't get a job that you want, you have two options:

Get pissed off at the world and give up. In other words, choose to lose.

Choose to win. Use this setback as an opportunity to build the relationship you want. If you want to help this company, help in some other way. Getting a job is not necessarily an all-or-nothing deal.

The brutal fact of the matter--and this is something I tell my Agoge candidates--is that life is not "fair." You might think you've done everything to "deserve" a job or a medal or a promotion or even the love of someone who doesn't love you back. Life has a way of taking our expectations and crushing them, and most of the time it doesn't say "sorry."

A message from my friend Ken Lubin to the masses.

Are you afraid of getting fired? Are you afraid you won't get the job? Are you afraid you're going to lose your job?

Here's the solution, courtesy of Ken Lubin, master recruiter.

If you want to get picked, be the best.

And if you can't be the best, work as hard as you can until there's no one else left.

And if you work harder than everyone else and still get nothing in the end--can you choose to say it was worth it?