“Winning” may not be “everything”, but it’s still pretty darned important!
Americans have “CAPITALIZED” the precept … from stratified grades in education, to “tag” on the playgrounds, to organized sports, to business, to science, to healthcare, to just about everything. Unfortunately, that generally means somebody ELSE has to lose!
“Who have you licked lately?”
Business Mantra, 1970s
And, if we’re not winning, something seems wrong. We get stressed, depressed and all out of sorts.
Overall, way too many of us feel like we are losing the battle as we struggle to make a “Go” of life. And a lack of “winning” against increasingly long odds is so overwhelming that many simply give up.
This doesn’t mean WINNING is, or SHOULD be, any less important. It may mean that WINNING is even MORE important! Winning is how we measure our progress and self-worth.
And GIVING UP is not a viable option!
So, we need to change our definition and understanding of winning. Here are some suggestions:
• For those fighting drug addiction, a single step toward recovery is a WIN.
• For anyone fighting depression, forcing oneself to exercise is a WIN
• For some, just getting out of bed is a WIN – COUNT IT!
• From General McRavens: Making your bed is a WIN – COUNT IT!
• In facing the daunting task of painting the house, just buying the paint is a WIN
• Choosing a salad or soup for lunch over a double cheeseburger is a WIN
• Drinking water instead of beer or sugared soft drinks is a WIN
• Purposely refusing to buy candy, donuts and cream pie at the grocery is a WIN
• Progressively reducing toxic habits: smoking, alcohol/drug use is a WIN
• Adding 250 more steps each week to your daily walk is a WIN
Other WINS may include: Flossing your teeth, Turning off the TV, Doing Journaling, Reading something other than comics and fiction, Learning a new language, Doing your homework, Doing EXTRA homework!, Turning off Social Media … Then CELEBRATE A VICTORY!
Pile up small-step WINS!
Using small-step WINS to mark our progress is energizing, “enlifening” and enabling for us to do more better. It’s laying down bricks in the yellow brick road to wherever it is we’re going, and it makes the going at least more manageable if not easier. It provides a sense and statement of AGENCY.
Commenting on the challenges of being quarantined at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Susanna Schrobsdorff writes the following:
“ … my two humans are out there in the rubble of the living room with 4,301 dirty cups and whatever it was the dog tore up because someone left it out. If I can go clean up with more gratitude and less snark than usual, I’m going to count today as a win.” [TIME, June 15, 2020, p. 18]
John Herrman adds this:
“A bike is a bike, and every ride is a victory.”
In a very fundamental sense, the most formidable opponents we will face are our own WORST selves … our Paleolithic ancestral selves … with our overactive “Pleasure Centers”, imbued with all of the cardinal vices.
If we can win THERE, we can win anywhere!
In that sense, we’re each “in a league of our own”. We can WIN as much as we are inclined to put forth in effort to overcome our ineptitude and decrepitude. If we do well in the “ME” league, then we are cleared to advance to the bigger leagues.
NOTE: LOSERS are not generally looking inside the brain case for challenges, but are looking mainly for Alt-WINS against outsiders, particularly authority figures … trying to “Beat the System” and to see how much they can “get away with”. They will invariably try to bully and belittle others, puff themselves up, flaunt their “superhero” underwear, claim “wins” with which they can only associate vicariously, usurp credentials they didn’t earn …
Come to think of it, WINNING is SO VERY IMPORTANT that some folks will lie, cheat, and steal … or even throw their mother under a bus … to gain an advantage!
Many think only BIG WINS count … like hitting the lottery, or “seeing their ship come in”, or winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, or Price is Right, or Wheel of Fortune, or getting a serendipitous windfall inheritance. These are only for infinitesimally small numbers of “lucky” ones. The rest of us have to CREATE OUR OWN LUCK by virtue of piling up small-step WINS. But it’s a more certain bet!
Finally, more important than winning is maintaining one’s INTEGRITY. The more small-step wins we can accumulate from the self-disciplined over-ride of ignoble inclinations, the more INTEGRITY we accrue.
“Stature is gained by increasing the number of things ‘beneath’ us, like …
Tribalism, Materialism, Self-Centeredness, Drama, Fabrication, Procrastination, Gratuitous Indulgence, All of the VICES, Willful Ignorance, Alt-Truths, Conspiracy Theories, Bravado, Defamation, Excuses & Explanations, Pettiness, Small dreams … ”
The Second Law of Thermodynamics underscores an important, basic fact of life: “Everything left untended tends toward the state of greatest disorder.” Thus, a large part of the basic “cost of living” includes the need to “tend” to things that need “tending”. Keeping life “livable” is a WIN. Anything we do BEYOND that … i.e., to prepare us for a better future … is a DOUBLE WIN. More personally, anything positive / progressive we do that we don’t HAVE to do or WANT to do – and do it NOW – is a WIN. And any indulgent gratification we delay or deter is a DOUBLE WIN.
Go for all the small-step WINS you can. It will be surprising – and enormously satisfying and gratifying – how little you’ll miss all you will have had to forego on the road to WINNING. Quartermaster
Reader’s Digest, July/August 2020, p. 31
Writing in THE WEEK (July 10-17, 2020, p. 3), Managing Editor Mark Gimein highlights the work of Maria Konnikova on winning at poker:
“Poker pushes you out of your illusions –
beyond your incorrect comfort zone –
if, that is, you want to win.”
“Konnikova postulates: ‘If, with the help of the world’s best players, she can train herself to question every hand and strategy, she could play the game at a world-class level. The bet paid off.’
One of the greatest paradoxes of psychology – maybe the great one – is that, while being wrong should make us questions our assumptions, it regularly has the opposite effect. Presented with signs that we have made a mistake, we very often choose to discard the evidence and dig in on our prior [errant] beliefs. … when what is involved are questions … of values, people retreat even further into their [contrived] certainties … Examining your own assumptions is … hard. But worth it – if, that is, you want to win.”