You might have an image in your mind of a winner.
Maybe an Olympic athlete crossing a winning line, or a successful business entrepreneur in front of her headquarters, or a celebrity on the red carpet. However, every one of these people will tell you the same thing – that these moments are not the moment of victory, these are not the moments that count, they’re simply the moments when someone was waiting with a camera.
Despite what the self-help gurus want you to believe, winning doesn’t happen because you wish for it, it happens because you work hard at losing. That sounds backwards, doesn’t it? Surely, winners work hard at winning, at being the best?
In fact, winners work hard at doing what they love, what they believe in. For every athlete who competes at the Olympics, hundreds don’t meet the grade. For every artist who sells a painting, thousands get no further than a few sketches on the train. And for every successful entrepreneur, there are tens of thousands of people who want to create their own business, but give up because they’re afraid that it won’t work.
Winners aren’t people who magically rise above these barriers and criticisms, they’re the people who have no other choice than to keep going, to keep pushing. While others give up, winners carry on. Eventually, their persistence is recognised by other people.
Look around you now. What things can you see that started as a crazy idea in one person’s mind? Trains that run underground? Horseless carriages driven by exploding gas? What have you seen today that made you think, “I wish I’d thought of that”. Well, here’s the sobering thought – you probably did think of it. You’ve had dozens of great ideas this week already. The difference is that you’ve done nothing about them. You’ve solved all of our political, economic and sporting challenges, you’ve mentally redesigned city centres to ease congestion, you’ve thought of new ways just to make your own life easier.
What is it that makes you censor your own ideas and plans? Why do you dismiss your hopes and dreams? It’s because you’ve been led to believe that you’re not good enough. In the first few years of your life, you were compared, measured and judged. Only one person can be top of the class, and runners-up don’t get a medal. Did you get 90% in an exam, only to be asked why you couldn’t get 100%? You learned to accept second best, and you learned to accept failure. The winner learned that those comparisons are irrelevant. Those measures say nothing about you.
Once you realise that no-one is judging you any more, no-one is measuring you because you are unique and cannot be measured, you will see that you can actually do anything that you want.
Above all else, there is one big difference in the way that a winner thinks, an attitude that you can easily adopt for yourself, if you really want to.
A winner doesn’t realise that it’s possible to fail.
About the author
Paul Boross is author of new book Leader on the Pitch, co-authored with rugby legend Scott Quinnell.