Are You Born to Win?

Whenever I hear someone described as a born winner I always wonder what the person described as “the born winner” thinks. They very well may have been born with some advantages, a “leg up” if you will. Wealthy parents, a good environment, good role models in their life are some that come to mind but I believe this much is certain; they were not born winners. They worked, probably very hard, to become a winner. Even people born with advantages can “lazy” the advantages away if they refuse to work to maximize them.

     

People who win have invariably formed the habits of doing the things that people who don’t win simply don’t like to do. Winners don’t necessary like to do them either but they do them anyway. They do them to win!

     

Winners make better choices; sometimes the choices are hard to make but they make them anyway. People who don’t win often make only the easy choices or worse yet they make no choice at all, simply allowing the winds of chance to determine the outcome of their lives.

     

Winners know that every choice and decision produces some kind of result so they seek the guidance of a coach or a mentor when making big decisions. They don’t make decisions when there is a chance that their emotions may affect the quality of the decision. People who can’t seem to win are almost unaware of the significance of their choices and too often believe that “their station in life” affords them no real choices. It’s what a lot of people would call a losing mentality.

     

People who win take risks. Not crazy risks, but well thought-out calculated risks. People who seldom win believe they can play it safe and still win. That may have been true at one time but it’s absolutely not true in today’s world. The truth today is that never taking a risk is about the riskiest thing you can do. 

     

Winners have goals. Real goals, the kind that are written down with a detailed plan on how to achieve them. They do not think in terms of “if I can” they think in terms of “how will I.” People who seldom win have dreams, wonderful dreams that way too often begin with the phrase “if only”.

     

Winners work to make a difference in the world around them. They care about much more than themselves. They think long term and plan ahead, they know that a set-back is not the end of the world, it is just the beginning of the next success. People who seldom win work simply to pay the bills.

     

Winners live today while preparing for tomorrow, they learn from yesterday but refuse to live there. People who don’t win too often seem to be talking about the good old days. Winners know the best days haven’t happened yet.

     

Winners always do everything they can to control their attitude. They shun people who might bring their attitude down. (Yes, they will try to positively impact other people’s attitude but not at the risk of their own.) They don’t let other people and things set the altitude at which they operate, they maintain control of the precious resource of a positive attitude no matter what. The decision to maintain a positive attitude is the first decision winners make each day and it’s often their most important decision of the day.

     

People who struggle to win also struggle to control their attitude and there is no coincidence there – it is nearly impossible to win once you tell yourself you can’t.

     

Winners don’t worry about “having” luck because they’re too busy “making” their luck. The make their luck while developing their plan for success, they make their luck in the course of doing the “little extra” stuff that they do on a very consistent basis.  The people who don’t often win do what their job description says to do and little more.

     

Winners know that doing a “little extra” than required puts them way ahead of the group who only does “little more” than required.

     

Now here is the best part… everything that winners do can be done by anyone. These are simply (yes, I know, simple to say, hard to do) choices available to anyone willing to make a commitment to win.


So the question isn’t whether or not you’re a born winner. The question is will you decide to be a winner today?


What You Actually Own

So, let’s begin with my personal definition of “own.” For me “own” means it’s mine and it can’t be taken from me. I don’t owe a dime on my house but there are a bunch of ways I could lose it. I have in my possession lots of cool stuff that could be stolen, lost, destroyed or otherwise taken from me. Even if you say l “own” that stuff it’s at best temporary.

 

No matter how much “stuff” you may claim to own you’re not going to leave this world with very much and there is nothing you can do to change that. 

 

But there are two things in this world I absolutely own and so do you.

 

The first is my self-respect. 

 

Eleanor Roosevelt, the diplomat and former First Lady said,  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

 

What an incredibly insightful statement. I first heard that in High School and boy did it come in handy. I went to a Military High School and the military staff worked overtime to try and make us feel inferior. That was back in the day when the concept of “you have to tear them down before you can build them up” was very much in vogue. They had the tearing down part totally mastered. 

 

But very few people really know me well enough for their opinion of me to matter. I’d bet that’s very much the case with you as well. So don’t let people who have not lived your life “help” you to determine your self-worth. They have no idea what you have overcome or are living with right now. Their opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s an opinion formed without many of the facts required to be accurate so put no more value in it than it deserves.

 

Always put a ton more value on the SELF part of self-respect and then be honest with yourself.  Never cut yourself more “slack” than you would someone else. You darn well know the difference between right and wrong and if it’s wrong for someone else it’s highly likely that it’s wrong for you too. 

 

The second thing that I absolutely, positively own, as do you, is the right to choose my own attitude. No one, regardless of their position, title, or importance in my life can take that from me…or you.

 

There are no circumstances, no problems, and no situations in life that can steal that right from you. 

 

In his amazing book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl describes the ability to choose one’s own attitude as the last of the human freedoms and the only one that can never be taken from us. 

 

By the way, Viktor Frankl survived the Holocaust and in those horrible days he held on to the ability to choose his attitude so be careful when saying that your own circumstances make it impossible. You truly can choose your attitude no matter what!

 

Living an honest life while trying to make a difference in this world will make it easier to keep your self-respect when some around you would like to destroy it. Maintaining a healthy self-respect will make it far easier to choose a positive attitude. The two go hand-in-hand.


Healthy self-respect and a positive attitude are choices, they are choices you own and always will. Never forget that, not even for a second!


What Did You Learn Today?

I was in Boston earlier this year to give a Leadership Presentation. At some point during the talk I said that “every person on earth knows something that you don’t.” My point was that if we keep an open mind we can learn something from everyone we meet.

The next day I hopped in a cab for the short ride from Back Bay to Logan Airport. We were just a couple of blocks from my hotel when a car cut in front of us and my cab driver was forced to hit the brakes a little hard. 

He laughed a bit as he apologized and said that in his city there were many important people who were always in a hurry. He didn’t seem the least bit angry or frustrated by an occurrence that must happen frequently. 

I couldn’t place his accent but I could tell for sure that he wasn’t a native Bostonian; he probably wasn’t born in the U.S. either. But he had a wonderful sense about him; you could just tell he loved driving a cab and he loved the City of Boston.  

I asked him how long he had been driving a cab and he said “a very long time.” He had “completed” school and held several jobs before this one but he really loved this one because he learned more driving a cab than “in all his years of school.” 

He said his cab was like a classroom where he could study people. Over the years he had seen wealthy people who were never happy, happy people who would never be wealthy and poor people who were just happy to be alive.

He said “when you put them all in a pot together you learn that real happiness ain’t nothing more than a choice.” He says a prayer each day before he gets in his cab; he asks for wisdom to remember “his lessons” and for patience when the people around him don’t remember theirs.

He was an absolutely fascinating person to talk with. I had no idea when I got into that cab that a life lesson was waiting for me. It really is true, when you keep an open mind you can learn something from virtually anyone.

That also means you can learn something new almost every single day. With that in mind, what have you learned today? 

Understanding Success – Part Three

Successful people get it. They simply understand some things that less successful people seem to have a hard time grasping. The things they understand are the “it’s” of success. 

This is the third post of a who knows how long series of those “it’s.” They will be short posts, each just long enough to give you time to focus on one “it” of success until the next post arrives. This series is getting longer by the minute and it could turn out to be as many as six or eight posts.

Just because successful people think they can do “it” that doesn’t mean they think they have to do it alone. Successful people are not afraid to ask for help when help is required.

That said, it should also be noted that successful people understand the difference between a hand up and a handout. They may ask for help in order to succeed but they don’t expect anyone else to make them a success. 

They have their support network lined up before they need it and they know that a great place to find that help is with their mentor, coach or anyone who cares about them. It may also be with an already successful person or maybe they just have to do research themselves to find the answers they need to succeed. 

Whatever the case, they don’t just wait around hoping someone gives them what successful people earn. They expect to have to work to get what they want and work is what they do. They control their destiny by controlling their thoughts, words, behavior and actions. 

If you are truly seeking success then feel free to raise your hand to ask for help, just don’t put your hand out and hope success will magically land in it.

One of my favorite quotes comes from the legendary comedian Bob Hope, he said “I’ve always been in the right place and time. Of course, I steered myself there.” Of course he steered himself into a position to succeed, that’s what successful people do.

All truly successful people will accept a good break now and then but more often than not, their “break” came as a result of hard work over a substantial period of time. They put themselves in a position where success was possible. 

Focus on what YOU need to do to put yourself in a position to succeed… and then do it.

Understanding Success – Part Two

Successful people get it. They simply understand some things that less successful people seem to have a hard time grasping. The things they understand are the “it’s” of success. 

This is the second post of a who knows how long series of those “it’s.” They will be short posts, each just long enough to give you time to focus on one “it” of success until the next post arrives. The series will be at least a few posts, maybe as many as six. 

Once successful people have made the choice of a positive attitude it makes it much easier to understand the difference between “I can’t” and “I won’t.” Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” Mr. Ford obviously knew something about what it takes to succeed. 

He also knew about the unbelievably destructive nature of thinking that you can’t. It’s really not possible to simply talk your way to success but it’s pretty common for people to talk their way out of it.

Do you talk to yourself? You just proved that you do when you asked yourself that question. Talking to yourself isn’t bad but negative self-talk kills dreams so be VERY careful about what you say to yourself. 

Every time you say “I can’t” you willingly give up a measure of control by telling yourself and others that you are willing to surrender your success. They more often that you say “I can’t” the more likely it becomes that you won’t. 

It’s perfectly fine if you willingly choose not to do something, just be certain that “I won’t” is a conscious choice and that you’re not unconsciously forcing it upon yourself by repeating “I can’t” over and over. 

Successful people find a way to say, and think, “I can.”

Remember, pretty much everything that’s ever been done was at one time thought impossible yet it was eventually done by someone who said “I can” and they quickly followed it up with a big “I WILL.” 

Nothing is truly impossible until every person on the planet agrees that it’s impossible. Never agree that anything is impossible…. be the one who proves it isn’t.

One more thing….be certain that your “won’t” isn’t simply coming from the fact that you don’t like doing something because here is one thing that nearly all successful people have in common: successful people have developed the habits of doing things that less successful people simply don’t like to do. 

Focus on the fact that YOU CAN!

Understanding Success – Part One

Successful people get it. They simply understand some things that less successful people seem to have a hard time grasping. The things they understand are the “it’s” of success. 

This is the initial post of a who knows how long series on those “it’s.” They will be short posts, each just long enough to give you time to focus on one “it” of success until the next post arrives. The series will be at least a few posts, maybe as many as six. 

First and foremost successful people understand the role that attitude plays in their success. They awake each day with the same choice to make as everyone else in the world and the choice they make is to have a positive attitude. It’s not that less successful people choose a negative attitude, they simply make no choice at all and allow the nattering nabobs of negativism to choose their attitude for them. 

If you want success and happiness in your life (by the way, each of our definitions of success may vary but I personally believe that if you’re not happy then you’re not successful) then begin each day by making the choice of a positive attitude. No matter what else is going on in your life it’s your attitude that is the one choice that no one can ever take from you.

Never doubt for a moment this absolute fact of success: Your attitude is a choice and it’s yours and yours alone to make.

By the way, just a thought here: if you’re a leader who desires to have a positive impact on your people then you should know that it’s pretty tough to have a positive impact on others unless you first have a positive impact on yourself.

Focus on your attitude.

 

The Attitude of Success

Very few things, perhaps nothing, will have more impact on your opportunity for success than your attitude.

There are many many things in life we cannot control. So many people that we cannot control either. Sometimes it just seems as if we have no control over life at all. But that is absolutely untrue. We have complete control over one of life’s greatest assets…. our attitude.

While we cannot control the events or people in our life we have total control over how we react to them. Total control. You have total, complete control over you attitude. It’s your choice and your choice alone. The only way you can lose that choice is to give it away.

Less successful people regularly give the choice of their attitude to the whims of events and the chances of life. They have, I’m sorry to say, a victim mentality that makes failure palatable. They have, to a large extent, not only given up control of their attitude, they have given up control of their life.

You see, the only real way to control your life is to control your attitude.

The most successful people make a choice to control their attitude regardless of the circumstances that effect their day. They CHOOSE positive no matter how strong the winds of negativity blow. They ignore the nattering nabobs of negativism and keep themselves shielded with positivity.

The most successful people choose to control their attitude in order to maintain control of their life. They are not blindly optimistic, they simply see opportunities where less successful people see only obstacles.

The most successful people almost all have one other thing in common: when they did fail they decided to try again. Less successful people often decided to not try at all. The difference between trying again and not trying at all is most often attitude.

You will seldom see a successful person with a negative attitude and you will seldom see a person with little success who has a positive attitude. Here’s what less successful people fail to understand: poor attitude isn’t caused by failure, failure is often caused by poor attitude.

Attitude is a choice, choose positive and choose control. Choose positive and choose success.