Free monthly success tips! Enter your email address!
Success Harmony Newsletter
"PLAY TO WIN"
the job you've always wanted. Think of the attractive and super-interesting
person next door that you've always wanted to meet. How do you react in
those situations? Do you boldly go and ask for what you want, or do you
talk yourself out of trying, preferring to reject yourself before you
gave them a chance to do so?
two ways to play in life. One is playing "to win", the other
is playing "not to lose". When we play to win, we are approaching
life with the gusto of Babe Ruth who struck out a lot because he tried
to hit a lot of home runs (and, in fact, did hit a lot of them). When
we play not to lose, we tend to hold back for fear of striking out. We
may strike out less but we also hit fewer home runs.
So how do
you know which game you are playing? It would be easy to say that "anytime
you talk yourself out of going for something you want because you think
that 'they' will say no to you, throw you out, laugh at you, blow you
up in little pieces, eat you alive, etc., etc., those are the times you
are playing not to lose." Life isn't quite that simple. There ARE
times when it is a good idea to stand back. If you are about to walk into
a cage with a hungry polar bear and ignore others telling you that you
will be eaten alive, unless you have hand-reared that polar bear and he's
used to you feeding him fish while you rub him on his belly and sing him
lullabies, you are an idiot and deserve to be eaten. In fact, I think
that's what Darwin talked about when he came up with his theories about
survival of the fittest.
Most of us
have no troubles recognizing that it is a good idea to stay away from
polar bears, not to walk around with expensive cameras around your neck
in the ghetto at night, and not to cheat on your tax return. It gets a
little more difficult when you are deciding whether to start the business
you've always dreamed of, are contemplating asking your girlfriend to
marry you, or are about to walk into your boss' office to ask for a raise.
In those cases, it is much too easy to come up with reasonable-sounding
excuses to put off what you want to do. In many cases, the excuses sound
so good that you never get to your idea at all! Some of these excuses
are creative ones made up by you, for your belief only and the amusement
of others. For example, one salesperson's favorite excuse for not making
cold calls is that she isn't wearing her lucky shoes. One of my now-husband's
excuses for us not moving in together earlier was that he needed seven
months to clean his apartment. (Ahem. Yep, I did still marry him. I appreciate
creativity. Oh, and in case you ask, the apartment looked no different
seven months later when we did move in together )
On the other
hand, some excuses sound good to everyone around you, too. Yes, everyone
will nod when you tell them you can't quit your job because you have a
mortgage to pay. Few people will tell you if you thought of getting creative.
There are business grants. There are loans. There are angel investors.
There are parents and siblings with bigger pockets and fewer doubts in
your idea than you have. There are credit cards. There are smaller houses
with smaller mortgages. There are ways of starting with very little and
growing it over time. As they say, where there's a will, there's a way.
In this case, putting your dream off either means that it never really
mattered to you in the first place (only you can tell that one, and only
at the time when you first thought of the dream, way before you started
thinking too hard about the implications of it!) or you've succumbed to
the all-common "chickenitis". I know I've had it many a time,
this classic playing not to lose example.
America is full of rags to riches stories. While this is good for inspiration,
it also can serve as a way of telling us that if we don't go from rags
to riches in two days flat, we are failures. So we don't even try, preferring
to hide behind our "no time, no money, no friends in high places"
excuses. How sad, especially knowing that many real rags to riches stories
aren't about someone getting discovered wearing pigtails in a grocery
store and becoming an overnight millionaire. For every person who succeeded
that quickly, there are thousands of people who fell flat on their faces
for years, spent time chasing their tail, and filed for yet another bankruptcy
while their next idea didn't quite work out again. Unfortunately, many
of those stories involve many years of zig zagging and without much glamour,
so they aren't particularly interesting to the media. But those are the
stories of people who were playing to win - even when the results in their
lives were telling them they were losers. These people, while perhaps
hidden from the limelight of Fox News and reality shows, are those who
have decided that playing it safe isn't for them.
you got up your sleeve that you've bought your own excuses for? Paintings
you've been meaning to paint but that are gathering dust in the attic
because you tried one that looked like something Picasso drew at the age
of one, and so you decided to go back to movie-watching instead? The new
business that has already grown to 100 world-wide locations in your head,
but you haven't even made a single call to find out how to start a business?
Whatever it is, how would you act if you only had six months to live and
knew that, really, the next six months were you last chance to live your
dreams? What dreams would stay on your list? What might you be willing
to do for them, even if you might fail?
is anything on that list (and, yes, the "always wanted to" ideas
may go from crazy to honourable, such as wanting to go skinny dipping
in the town square fountain on a busy Saturday or starting the world's
next sporting shoe empire), when will you go for it?
missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times
I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot...and missed. I've failed
over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They
make mistakes, but they don't quit."
"The last dejected effort
often becomes the winning stroke."