On Winning…

I recently heard a wise man speak about the concept of “winning”. He said that there are 2 ways one wins at anything… One, is when you beat one or more people to a goal. Like a race, where you aim to reach the finish line before everyone else. The other way, is to set a personal target and achieve it. Like, beating your best time in a race.

The first, he added, is more glorified and celebrated. Almost all the exquisitely celebrated wins involves beating someone to a goal.  We as children are taught to win by being the best at something, sometimes being better than the rest is good enough.  Being exposed to such an ideology, we slowly fail to recognize the second sort of winning at all.

Thats the tragedy, he said, we are all so busy trying to beat someone, to get that winning high; that we have forgotten to question if winning that race is even worth it…

This got me thinking… about story telling and how stories of victories inspire us.

Thinking back I realized that all the great stories that pump adrenaline through our veins involve protagonists winning in both the above ways simultaneously.  The beating an opponent part is primarily added to keep the audience on their toes.  While the personal achievement is for the emotionally connect and long lasting satisfaction that, things did end well.

Similar to the stories we are told, when presented with a challenge we instinctively hope to win in both the ways.  The first to get recognition and the second for satisfaction/validation or if you have really lucky, Vindication.

The problem most often than not is that (when we do win) we manage to win in only one way, it ends up feeling like an hollow victory.

Looking back, my greatest wins were when I did something that I was told was impossible (for me) to do or when I believed completely in something I was doing, when nobody around me did… They were wins that probably didnt matter to anyone else in the world but did to me.

In the long run, everyone will win their fair share. It wont matter how many wins you had next to your name, rather its wins that mattered to you that will make the difference.