Winning gets a bad rep.

Immediately people will say.. well, there can be only one winner.

True in one way:
The trophy. The front page. The 1st place cheque.

False, in the most crucial way:
Anyone who decides to win, regardless of outcome, will win their life: They will maximize their potential while adapting to a constantly fluctuating environment, growing, trying, learning, picking themselves up, finding balance, and potentially taking a leap into another level of consciousness or breaking through a performance barrier that they had not yet been capable of, and probably never would have knocked on the door of, had they not had to put out maximum effort and opened themselves up to perform beyond their current abilities.

The decision to win is the most important part.

It’s an incredibly simple but powerful choice that then kicks off a cascading chain of events, unleashing your potential.

Actually winning only matters in the sense that you have to commit to doing absolutely everything you possibly could to reach your vision and rise to the occasion.

Which means you have to do your best not to let that decision to win go for even a second. What you can let go of, and should let go of, is needing the trophy. Let that shit go right away. You don’t need that piece of junk. F*ck that thing. You need to rise to, and beyond, the circumstances and beyond yourself - catalyzing your energy and intensity to pull off what it will take to have that piece of metal. You can definitely let the thought of hoisting that trophy excite you but the thing itself is devoid of power.

But “I don’t have that killer instinct”. You don’t need it… not the way you think you do.

And, PS - yes you do have it. It’s just a little buried in there. We all have those instincts. It doesn’t have to manifest itself as “I’m gonna beat your ass!!!” It can manifest as determination, unshakable will, or an excitement or a creative joy or fervour that you commit to nurturing.

Most people just turn it down once it gets to be “too much”. We’re afraid of it - because our parents and society and work and our girlfriends / boyfriends have all gotten hints of our intensity, and asked us to cool it.

But there are only two reasons society asks us to cool it:

  1. We are all terrible at, and never practice healthy conflict… therefore we all fear it, therefore we all shame the people who make us afraid.

  2. In absence of being good at conflict, and in the presence of that fear, intensity is often projected on to other people - if we can’t own it… that means when it pours out, and feels justified, we have to make it someone else’s fault. Which then makes our intensity unfortuantely-doubly-bad in the eyes of others and society.

That sucks. Because I WISH there were more people in life who were intense with me and who wanted my intensity. Who really let it rip, but owned their intensity. No one is making you intense - you’re born that way. And it’s awesome when you are around someone who is letting themselves fully stream like that.

It’s not about beating anyone - its about beating a situation by rising above and beyond it.

The decision to win is NOT a decision to beat someone else. In fact you will probably go weak and spiral your ego into knots if you think that way. Some people use the idea of wanting to beat someone else.. but maybe only as an occasional rudder to align them to the real goal - pursuit of absolute personal excellence.

The decision to win actually is a very personal thing. The other people you have to do better than to win, don’t even have to have names if you thought about it like this: anyone I’m competing “against” is just revealing to me in real time, based on their performance, the constantly changing situation I have to adapt to, and rise to the challenge of. Therefore I don’t have to beat “them” BUT I only have to beat the conditions they have helped create in front of me.

It’s more about creativity than competition.

You don’t have to try and kill Tommy. But you will have to face your inner complacencies and let them die a bit. You have to use the immense power of your unconditional choice, determination, will, discipline, effort and surrender to help get you into a zone where you can perform out of the energy of love - a love for what could be - a love for the moment - a love for your ability to even have the opportunity - and a love the potential outcome you’re creating. When you create your outcomes out of a place of love for what could be - that means you don’t need anything. The act itself is insanely rewarding and filled with a joy and power that can’t be matched by struggling to try and “out compete” or “beat” someone else.

The decision to win is insanely simple, and wildly catalytic.

Once you make that one simple, deep down decision, everything will start revealing itself underneath it.

If you never make that choice - you’ll never really catalyze your potential in the same way.

We have so many inner blocks that may never reveal themselves to us unless we put ourselves in a situation where they become a hindrance to us and have to be faced, accepted, and overcome.

You’ve created a crazy challenge to try and adapt to. Humans are adaptation machines. People in retirement often fade away or die so much earlier than expected because we usually expire from a lack of that which inspires.

I played golf with my father and his friends a month back, and one of his friends shamefully admitted that he played way more golf when he was working than in retirement.

I said “What?!” he said, “Yeah - every Wednesday after work - a group of guys would all clock out a little early and hit the course. But now, I can’t seem to make the time for myself, and can’t find people to play with.”

It hit me so clearly - his real problem is that retirement is a space of time completely devoid of circumstances to adapt to - there is no pressure to fit anything in, or make anything happen, or squeeze in some “me time”, or to blow off some steam.

There is always tomorrow. And when there is always tomorrow, humans rarely do it today. Makes sense - nature wired us for economy of effort.

That’s the beauty of deciding to win - when you decide to win, there is no tomorrow. The time is now - you can’t wait for the next hole, the next period, the next quarter, the next half, the back nine and ESPECIALLY not the next day, because if you don’t get your shit together and do your best to adapt to the situation and win… you’ll have to make some magic happen over the next few games to make up the deficit.

It’s not all so crazy intense - a lot of things we decide to win are more like marathons. But the form on every step in a marathon counts. Every breath counts. Every second you’re more oxygenated than your previous self, or your current competitors is a second you gain some ground. And that’s the beauty of it. It turns life into a technicolour experience - one where it truly matters to be here and alive and utilizing our gifts.

Could write more on this topic - but the main point is this - do yourself a favour and just allow yourself to make the choice to win at something today or this week. Let yourself get excited about the feeling of rising to the occasion. And see how long you can keep that in mind in a positive way.

Would be curious to hear anyones thoughts on this and if you try it, and what your experience is.

Have a golden weekend.

Gordon SwensonComment