Everybody says they love to win. Still, only a few seem to win, or even play to win.
Is it possible that there are hidden emotions that stop us from pursuit of being the winner? What could they be?
If you win once, you will be expected to win again and again. It is just easier to be ordinary, isn’t it, if your goal is to live an easy life?
Maybe you are not ready to pay the cost that winning takes? Maybe you do not like discipline, the fight, or effort that is needed to win the game?
Or perhaps you are not interested in the game at all, so the possibility of winning does not excite you. You drone on, but do not bring your best to the fore.
These questions are worth looking into if you want to be a winner in life. People usually blame things outside of them, and never look inwards to see if they are somehow sabotaging themselves. Still, most of us stop ourselves from winning, a lot more than any other external circumstances.
External circumstances are obstacles that we can surmount, with motivation, training, dedication and development.
However, internal blocks are far more powerful and dangerous. They can hold us in their invisible grip our entire life. We are blind to them like the fish is blind to water. When that happens, no matter what else we try, nothing seems to work.
Let’s look at a common way we sabotage our own chance of winning. The fear of winning! Where does it come from? I have been a victim of this for most of my life.
There was a cost to the Allied Powers winning the World War II – two nuclear bombs had been dropped on Japan. There was mass death. Can you imagine, there were some people who decided that it was OK for them to kill thousands of men, women, children to win a war. Can you do it? I could not imagine doing it.
Did you watch the Avenger series? You must have seen that Thanos had to sacrifice his daughter Gamora, to obtain the Soul Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones. Barton had to sacrifice Natasha, Scarlett Johansson, his best friend, to get the soul stone to win against Thanos.
Someone had to die for someone to win. My nightmare, if there was ever one.
Since I was a little child, I couldn’t identify myself with winning. It seemed to me that winning requires making someone else lose, making someone else feel pain. I never had to face the choice of committing murder to save the world, luckily, but still winning seemed to come at an unacceptable cost nonetheless.
I want to contribute and I mean well for the world. I know in my heart that I am a good person. Winning did not sit well with me. Winning seemed to require something else – a killer instinct.
It was clear to me that something ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ was attached to winning – either it will carry a huge personal cost, or some huge price that I will resent paying, or a cost to someone else that I did not want to inflict on them.
I’d have to hurt someone to win! This would cause me to freeze.
Further, the expressions ‘doing whatever it takes’, or ‘at all costs’, or ‘being ruthless’ are often associated with winning, and were clearly confirming to me that this is what winning requires.
Now, I hate hurting people, and I hate being a bad person. Winning might make me really take on bad karma. Deep down inside, it felt intense.
For every victor, there are scores of vanquished. For everyone who wins, there is one or more people who lose.
But if I don’t win, I’ll be a loser. I didn’t want to be that either.
Many people are stuck like this, when they think of taking risks or doing big things in life. Of course, they are terrorized. Winning is scary for many reasons, this being one.
Now, fast forward to a very special evening. It was just a normal evening like any other, and I was at my gym (Boxfit).
Our instructor was asking us to do a drill where we had to sprint to the wall 15 metres in front and return, multiple times. There were 2 other people who had to do the same thing.
I was lazy and wanted to do it slowly. But something happened to me. I discovered a natural competitive instinct inside me, which made me want to win just for the sake of winning, nothing else. There was nothing at stake, perhaps that made it easier.
I ran my fastest, because there were others. I ran to come first. If they weren’t there, I’d have grudged running. Guess what?
I enjoyed the drill, it was fun. More fun than I ever experienced while exercising, ever before. I was breathless at the end, but I turned out to be faster and fitter. What a lovely result the instinct of winning brought me! There was no cost, and no ugly emotion around it.
The competition didn’t bring any jealousy, or anxiety. It was a game. Even the losing didn’t bring any sadness.
I began to ponder.
Why can’t the other things I do in life be like that, such as my work?
I realized then that I can make many tasks I perform alone or with my team far more enjoyable if I introduce the concept of winning. I have to turn a task into a game for that. It can be harmless, fun and it can produce the result I want.
The answer is to play the game. We all have that instinct in us. It just needs to be unleashed.
It is not necessary that there has to be a loser for another to win. It’s just a game. The one who lost can play another game and win.
How did this impact my fear of losing (and being a loser)? Loss is never final. It teaches me what I can do when I play again. It sharpens my hunger to win. After losing, I can try again and again and eventually win!
This has been a revelation for me. An entirely new way to live my life.
Usually, I struggle to keep up with everything that I promise others to do. When I do keep my promises, it is so exhausting, and it requires a disproportionate effort. After that, I take a mental break from doing big things, till we are in mission-critical state again.
These days, however, I am enjoying working, in an absolutely new and refreshing way. This is because I look at a situation or a task as a game I want to win.
Most goals in life can be translated into smaller games, and winning these games does not involve causing personal hurt or pain to people. You do not have to kill or hurt others to move forward.
Even the idea of losing does not feel repulsive to me. I do not feel the need to avoid it. Rather, I see it as an opportunity to improve. When I am working on new and creative areas like practical legal education, I am likely to lose many times, and each time the experience of losing will provide me an opportunity to improve and plug the gap that made me lose in the first place.
Therefore, I am able to put in my full effort, without feeling the exhaustion, and without being in a mission critical state. I finally feel that I can do this (i.e. working on legal education) all day.
I started writing this at 11 pm at night, which is something I avoid doing (to avoid a personal cost in my mind). I wrote this in about 45 minutes. I could start late and complete it. There was no personal cost to my life, and no personal hurt caused to someone I care about.
In fact, when I completed the article, there was joy and satisfaction.
It has taken me 7 years to get to this point since I started working for myself. For 7 years, I was missing out on the joy of winning!
I am building upon this further by taking on more challenging games and by making more ambitious goals for my career, and for taking our courses to the next level.
The first game is to repose a high level of faith in the ability of our team members to deliver the next level of value to you through our courses, which enables us to accelerate the improvement of our courses.
Usually, I would only delegate a specific kind of content development work at Lawsikho to the content team members, with a presumption about what they can do and what they cannot. As it required a high degree of supervision in any case, I was uncomfortable delegating the most difficult and challenging tasks. Now, however, each member of the content team at Lawsikho has some very innovative content development goals. Harsh and I are starting work on an innovative pilot in Delhi to provide interns to select practitioners to accelerate the flow of practical insights into our courses. Komal has created a process to rapidly upgrade our courses where anyone from our content team can quickly specify what needs to be added in which course, for content development work to commence immediately. Smriti and Silpa, our two recent team members are making rapid strides in including new content in Lawsikho’s IP and cyber law and fintech course.
I am hungry to experience more winning, and develop a big appetite for it.
My life changed the day I discovered the joy of winning.
What are your hidden emotions around winning? What can you accomplish when you can play to win and enjoy winning without a personal cost?
Examining your emotions around winning can free you up, to create more ambitious goals, or take up unconventional tasks.
Maybe, you can start seriously exploring a career in legal entrepreneurship, which you had been avoiding all this while, because of the uncertainty.
Maybe, you can now dream of building a successful career in your favourite area. For example, you may be able to dream of and start preparation towards a career in litigation, despite your parents’ or friends’ advice that a government job or a corporate law firm is safer and more lucrative for you.
Maybe you can grow your practice five or ten times faster than lawyers who built their practice in the past generation, by taking advantage of newer tools and training programs available, such as those offered by Lawsikho.com.
While examination of your hidden emotion around winning enables you to create an ambitious goal and have a new kind of attitude, fulfilment of the goal requires commensurate effective action.
You will need to take some unconventional decisions and you must acquire the appropriate resources to leap further. I am not talking about money, but training, guidance and direction.
For example, if you have ambitious goals around building a career in law, here are the courses closing this week, which may be relevant for you:
Diploma in Cyber Law, Fintech Regulations and Technology Contracts
Executive Certificate Courses