Winning isn't always winning
Those close to me may say I am competitive and hate losing. This could be true when it comes to playing structured games and sport. However, I don't have a win at all costs mentality, I suppose I focus more on sportsmanship.
Life is not a structured game though. There are some rules to live by, which are decided by local authorities and governments, however in the main, life is a journey.
If there are no rules, with no definition of winning then how do you win at life? The answer is simple. You don't win or lose, you leave an impact. The impact you leave will depend upon the actions you take on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.
Notice how I mention the actions you take, not the thoughts you have. No one knows what you are thinking, they just notice your actions. Intention is not impact.
You could have all the best intentions in the world, but the impact upon others? It may be the opposite to what you had intended.
What is your intended impact?
How do you know your actions are congruent with the impact that you intend to make?
Who defines winning?
I hear many motivational speakers mention 'win the day', or 'are you winning at life?' etc. If there are no rules, or outcomes met to win at life then who defines whether you win or not?
Quite simply how you measure it.
You could win every day if you want to. Just provide yourself with some simple metrics, and meet them.
Have you ever enjoyed beating a three-year old at a game? There probably wasn't a lot of satisfaction from it. You're supposed to win.
Yes, you could set some easy to meet metrics, but would that really inspire you?
The pain of losing
The current world we live in, failure can appear quite the daunting prospect. I don't know anyone that enjoys failing, but they are our greatest lessons.
I have stopped myself in the past from competing because I was worried more about losing than the prospect of winning. Imagine taking that attitude into life because I thought it was a game with someone deciding whether I won or lost!
Who am I competing against? Who are you competing against?
Once you start to compare/compete with others, I believe you have already 'lost'. You are your own person, just focus on being a better version of you today than you were yesterday, and a better version tomorrow than you are today. This isn't winning, this is progression!
Limiting your perspective
If you focus on your day as a game, you add rules and boundaries. All these do is limit your perspective to think a certain way.
Lets say your 'win' would be to earn a promotion in your current role. You may only develop in the areas that your current employer wants you to meet. You develop in those areas, but perhaps the opportunity isn't quite there yet... will it ever be? Life isn't full of certainties. As Seth Godin says "In today's world, betting on chaos is the safest bet of all".
If you shift away from winning any game, you remove the boundaries. Therefore you broaden your thinking.
Rather than focusing on the promotion, you're focused on advancing your career. You develop your mindset to prepare for the advancement, you touch up on your skillset to ensure you have the appropriate skills for the next leg of the journey.
Not only have you developed to be ready for that promotion, but you are also ready for other opportunities. You have broadened your horizon, and are looking beyond.
The year ahead
Each year we get towards the end, and the majority of people see it as a new start, new beginnings. It is like they're resetting the game and can start from scratch. The game doesn't end or start, only the calendar year.
Your life will have an impact, what do you want that impact to be?
From there, take daily actionable steps which ensure this impact spreads like wildfire.
Discipline will be your greatest ally! Motivation comes and goes, but to create a lasting impact you'll need to carry out the tasks you don't feel like doing. This is perfectly normal. The most successful people know they have to continue doing certain tasks to create the impact they want.
Winning or losing with others
You will interact with many people on a daily basis. If you are focused upon 'winning your day' you can focus on the small battles throughout the day.
Each interaction you have could feel like a game and for many it subconsciously is. They're trying to find ways to overcome the other person, or get what they want from the situation so they play whatever game is needed for that particular situation.
If you win the other person loses. We have already spoken about how losing can make you feel. Leaders are there to inspire and motivate others, not make them feel bad.
Winning the day?
There is no referee or score judge. You're not going to be told you're the winner and there's a loser. So rather than focusing upon the highs of winning or the lows of losing, focus on progressing each day.
You're not aiming for an end-point, you're meeting certain checkpoints along the way. Ultimately the 'end' is always beyond the horizon.