WeekdayWisdom.com logo Monday Motivation 8/5/2002

You Can Be a Winner

There are a lot of different ways to look at our time in this life.

Some people choose to look at life as a journey; others look at life as a feast. I choose to look at life as a game.

In a game, there are losers, and there are winners. If we're going to play the game of life, we should choose to be a winner.

If you were seriously playing a game, no matter what game it might be, you're most likely trying to win. Oh, sure -- there are some games where mere participation means that you are a winner, but they're few and far between.

"Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing," said the famous coach Vince Lombardi. "You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

Can you become a winner? Sure! Can you stay a winner? You bet!

Sure, sometimes, you're going to have a defeat here or there -- but while you may lose occasional battles, if you're committed to becoming a winner, you will always win the war in the end.

How can you become a consistent winner?

1. First off, you've got to play the game, and play to win.

Sounds stupid, doesn't it? To win in a game, including life, you've got to be a player. That means you go into your game with all your heart and soul, putting every bit of energy, effort, and determination that you possess. You may win, or you may lose, but you'll be striving each and every minute of the day.

So many people choose never to get involved in the game. They stand on the sidelines, waiting for the "perfect moment," which never comes. Like the mediocre player that never gets called up, they spend all the games watching other people excel, frustrated that they never get their chance to "save the day."

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This is where the great difference between losers and winners divides. Losers wait until all the planets have aligned, all the signs point to success, and all the lights have turned green before they move. Since these things never are perfect, they never move at all. They spend all of their lives thinking about how "it might have been," rather than going out and making it happen.

"The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am," said noted performance coach and motivational speaker Dennis Waitley. "Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can't do." (emphasis added)

No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, we should choose to "play the game" of life. Let's never just sit on the sidelines, wondering what's going on.

Even losing the game is preferable to never playing.

2. Secondly, you've got to persist until you succeed.

When I was in high school, I remember seeing a motto posted in the basketball team's dressing room. I since have learned that it's posted in almost every athletic team's dressing room. It's a famous quote: "Winners never quit, and quitters never win."

If you're going to give up, then at least give up early -- why waste everybody's time -- but if you're going to be a winner, then you've got to persist. No matter the consequences, no matter the challenges, no matter the troubles that come your way, or the opportunities that don't -- persist, until you reach your goal; persist, until you cross that finish line. Persist, until you win.

Losers give up early -- but winners never give up.

Another famous quote, attributed to a Princeton player, Knute Rockne, and others: "The team that won't be beat, can't be beat." If you don't give up, you win.

3. Third, you've got to choose to win.

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Few people actually win out of default. In order to win, you've got to make an active choice -- you have to label yourself as a winner. You're not just a player, nor are you just an innocent bystander in the game of life. You're a winner. You have actively chosen to become a winner, and you've taken the steps to make yourself one.

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them," said Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball star of our time. If you don't choose to be a winner, you're unlikely to ever become one.

4. You have to keep yourself positive.

We must always remember the old adage: "That which we resist, we become." Many of us spend our days trying to "avoid" something, rather than choosing to "acquire" something. In doing so, we concentrate, however unconsciously, on the negative side of the equation, often bringing about the thing we were always trying to avoid.

Life is better when you concentrate on the positive. As the old song goes, "You've got to accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative, Latch on to the affirmative, Don't mess with mister in-between" (Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen).

Keeping a positive state of mind keeps you invigorated, happy, and enjoying life -- and it's always easier to win a game when you enjoy it.

5. You've got to become better at winning.

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I'm a fan of the Utah Jazz basketball team. Oh, they still haven't won the finals, but they always seem to work at becoming better.

Each of us have to spend our time becoming better at what we do. There are always younger, more flexible, more hungry players coming up behind us. Mere experience won't always give us the edge -- we need to become better at everything we undertake. As the ancient philosopher Seneca said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

6. You need to execute your plan for success.

If you don't have a plan to achieve your winning success, you're unlikely to find your way to achieving it. Just as anything else in your life, winning consists of creating a plan to winning, and the following through on your plan, making changes as necessary to keep your goals in sight.

7. You've got to have confidence in yourself.

Why confidence? Because unless you believe you can win, you're unlikely ever to try. We earn self-confidence by excelling at the little things, until we're ready to take on the bigger challenges. Try a few little challenges -- getting up on time in the morning (or going to bed on time at night); eat more healthy food; read an hour a day in your field; plan your day out before you start. These little challenges help prepare you to meet life's bigger challenges -- and they're something each of us has the power to achieve, no matter what our circumstances may be.

Winners make the most of whatever they are given, and they keep a positive approach to every circumstance that comes their way. Through keeping their lives in focus, and their eye on the game of life, winners achieve their goals, while the losers are still wondering what happened.


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