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Finish First

In business, crossing the finish line second is not an option.

This story appears in the November 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

One of the more exciting parts of Navy flight school was dogfighting, or aerial combat. The student pilot takes off, flies over an area and waits to be jumped by the instructor pilot. Because it was a beautiful day as I flew 8,000 feet over tree farms, I took my mind off the lesson. My peaceful flight was suddenly interrupted, however, when my instructor rolled in on me, screaming over his microphone, "Bang, bang, bang!"

I immediately slammed on the throttle and pulled the nose of the aircraft up, hoping to shake the "attacker." My instructor stayed tight on my tail and after about five minutes of my desperate maneuvering, he said, "Class is over. You're dead."

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