Victory is a basic human need. It's right up there with food, shelter, water, and reproduction. Few things in life rival the extreme jolt of energy that comes from winning. Sometimes it's a friendly contest. Sometimes it's an athletic competition. Sometimes it's a personal goal that you've been striving to achieve. Regardless of the situation winning provides joy, excitement, and energy.
Our society, our ancestor's society, and the society our children will live in thrive on it. It's an undeniable fact of life.
- The President wins the election.
- Salesmen win the trust of their customers.
- Teachers win the satisfaction of knowing they are passing on knowledge.
- Bodybuilders win the fight with their bodies.
- Writers win the support of their fan bases.
- Race car drivers win races.
- Husbands win the affection of their wives in order to marry them.
- Good Doctors win their battles with disease and injury.
As you can see millions of situations arise on a daily basis that challenge our willingness to win, from running for public office to shedding a few pounds. Someone (or something) must gain from each situation.
Why is this the case?
Why is society so competitive?
The answer is simple. The evolution of society depends on it. We couldn't have leadership without elections (somebody must win the election). We'd have no Super Bowl if NFL players weren't out on the field every week striving for a win. Advanced medical technology wouldn't exist if the need to defeat discomfort, broken bones, and disease never existed.
The entrepreneurial drive to win and create a company gives jobs to millions of people across the globe. You wouldn't be able to read this article if the drive to create an easy medium of communication (aka win) wasn't fulfilled by someone.
Society Urges Us To Lose
Even with these stated facts many people suppress their urge to win, to emerge victorious, and to expose their strengths. Believe it or not society pressures us into smoldering that urge. Notice how quick people are to spew out a negative review of a musician.
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Notice how people without any intention of ever becoming the President (or a leader of any type) will QUICKLY pass judgment on the person in the oval office. Notice how people celebrate and clamor to the bad news of a celebrity figure that falls from grace.
Who would want to excel knowing that these are the consequences? The knowledge of these behaviors drives us back to the center. Back to average. Back to mediocrity. Where we can be safe, sane, and happy. The pressure to remain with the pack is enough to keep most of us from ever striving towards our natural purpose to overcome, improve, and win.
In the last year I've taken a particular liking to public speaking. Depending on the survey you use public speaking is either the #1 Fear in America (before death) or the #2 Fear in America (after death). Either way you slice it public speaking is right up there with no longer being a living organism.
- Something to complain about public speaking. - Started By whitea32
"I need something to complain about. It has to be something that effects me. I have no idea what to talk about."
- I HATE Public Speaking. - Started By Safety Pins
"I'm taking COMM 101 this semester and have to give four 5-minute speeches. It sucks, I'm a pretty quiet person and hate talking in front of a group of people like this, especially doing a speech."
- Public Speaking. - Started By Future_KingKong
"How many of you shy away from public speaking? I have been asked to make a speech in class and I am thinking of bunking that class. I am so very nervous."
I've run into many people who profess an absolute fear of speaking in public. Naturally, I have to ask why. The most common answers are:
- I don't want to look silly.
- I'm afraid no one wants to hear what I have to say.
- I'm not comfortable with the material.
- It makes me nervous.
- That's too difficult for me.
In summary, the biggest fear in modern American society is being an outlier in our group of peers. Our natural urge is to win. Winners are by nature outliers that rise above the competition. Is it healthy to suppress one of nature's basic urges? I'd have to say no.
Play Hard Or Don't Play At All
In order to satisfy your need to win you must play hard and put your best foot forward. I've learned this lesson the hard way in several aspects of life. Most notable of those has been my experiences with dating.
The second half of my senior year in high school and all 4 years in college were spent dating the same girl. The relationship in and of itself was great. I learned a million and one things about women that I would not have known otherwise. However, it SEVERELY handicapped my ability to initiate conversations, keep interest, and generate any dates with strangers.
When I first broke onto the scene I was very unsure of myself. I'd make meager infrequent attempts to gain the attention of women I didn't know. If anything went sour during the exchange I'd immediately turn tail and run leaving behind a trail of smoke. Sometimes I'd even trip when running away.
As time passed I fell into a deep slump. The rejection and nervousness where getting to me. I wasn't playing the game to win. I was just playing to play. I wasn't presenting a person that any woman would want to date. No wonder I was falling flat on my face every time.
Gradually I changed my attitude. I worked on small victories like saying hi to women as they walked by. Giving compliments to women on their hair, clothes, body, etc. Asking female coworkers and family members about approaches. Eventually I worked up the courage to start conversations, continue them, and ask for numbers!
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Once I decided to play hard or stay home everything changed for me. It became easy to start conversations, generate some interest, and get over the nervousness.
Now I'm at the point where I'm willing to talk to the majority of women that I find interesting. This was a huge win for me personally because I struggled with it for a few years. I decided that if I was going to play I might as well play hard. Sometimes I fall flat on my face and sometimes it works like a charm.
If you're going to undertake a task its worth giving it your all. Otherwise you're just plodding along going nowhere. When it's all said and done you'll be much better off. Why show up just to yell "present" when the role is taken? Make your present known.
Time Is Too Valuable To Spend It Losing
A friend of mine recently asked me why I always have to shoot for the top. Why do you have to push it to the limit? He mentioned 2 things specifically:
- My insane drive to lose weight (250 lbs down to 205)
- My intense dedication to speaking (~40 speeches in 17 months)
Up until he asked me I'd never really thought about it. I sat for a second and let the options run through my mind.
Then it hit me. I value my TIME too much to waste it not getting results (aka Losing).
Time is the one resource that is truly limited and out of our control. Once its gone you can't have it back. If you waste $50 you can always make it back. If you waste 50 years they are gone forever.
If you want to win you have to learn to place value on your time. Certain things just aren't worth it. Petty arguments, mild pain, spending 100% of your free time planted in front of a TV, and getting involved in things that really don't interest you are all a waste of your most valuable resource. Look at what you do and how much TIME you spend doing it.
In all likelihood, you'll be surprised at just how much time is spent doing absolutely nothing of value. Imagine if that time was spent on value added activity. Think you could win more then? Think you would be happier? Think you could have more of what you desire?
The formula to winning is right before our eyes
- Release your winning urges
- Play hard or not at all
- Value your time
It's really that simple and straightforward. Winners listen to their urge to win, give 100% in their efforts, and spend their time doing the things that matter.
If you're going to get in the game you might as well shoot for the championship.
Marcus A. Smith
AAAI/ISMA Certified Personal Trainer