Winning isn’t everything… we were taught in school during our childhood. So, some of us have gotten used to the idea of not giving it 100% because when we lose we can always use the excuse I had fun doing it!.
When considering the modern professional setting, winning is absolutely everything. Only winners get noticed, only winners proceed to the next rung of the ladder, only winners get that huge Christmas bonus and only winners continue to win. No one remembers the second best. It’s just a fact of life. Evolution has programmed us that way. Survival of the fittest remember…
I have seen my share of motivational quotes which tell me that I can do anything I put my mind in to. I think that this is absolute BS. For example, I can’t be an astronaut because there’s most probably a weight restriction. I can’t be an NBA star because there’s a height requirement; obviously not officially but seriously can a 5ft 8 Asian play in the NBA? In reality, I can do only a limited number of things well. In order to do those few things, I have spent years in school and more years in an office getting good at them. However, I still occasionally lose and when I do I’m a sore loser.
There are many mantras on how to cope with defeat but what I learnt yesterday from my daughter is priceless. It all happened at my daughter’s sports meet. I was cheering on these five-year olds as they raced against each other. My daughter is not that into sports. At least not yet. She is more into singing, dancing and computers. Takes after dad I guess. Having said that, she took part in all the events in her class. Although I was cheering her on, she came just one better than the last in all the events. As a parent I was kind of disappointed because the winners were posing like crazy in front of the parents’ stand while my daughter was still running to the finish line. For a second there I was thinking about her future and whether she would always be the one before the last in this sports meet we call professional success. Then something happened which changed my whole perspective.
My daughter reached the finish line and started jumping up and down in joy. She was so happy that she had finished the race and not given up halfway. The winners were looking at her as if she didn’t understand the whole concept of a race. I knew that she understood it very well. At the end, the winners went up on the podium to receive their medals. She was in her class tent clapping and cheering each one. Once the event ended, she came to me and showed me the medal she had been given for participating. She was so proud of it and had this real sense of achievement. Then I started to think to myself whether winning is really everything?
There’s no golden piece of advice I can impart on you from this small event. However, it really put things into perspective for me. Perhaps winning is not always everything. Perhaps it is important to enjoy what you are doing and appreciate yourself for what you have achieved in your career. Perhaps I should pay attention to those parts of a CV where a candidate has indicated that he/she has played a sport or an instrument in school even though there are no medals to show for it. Well perhaps not… However, one thing is for certain though; the next time I lose, I will take a page from my daughter and walk out like a winner with my arms in the air and head held high!