"I'm going to live my life the way I want, I'm going to win in every moment" - Charlie Sheen
I think Charlie Sheen was onto something!
Well ... on second thought maybe he just had an accidentally profound catchphrase. I do agree with him, "winning" is a way of life. In fact, I think it's on of the most important things in life. We are hardwired from birth to win, to set goals and achieve them. However, unlike Mr. Sheen, I'm not talking about winning as in contest between people or their bank accounts. When I say winning, the only competition I'm referring to is between yourself vs the task at hand. The task itself is irrelevant. The point is that we were born to accomplish our goals.
When we stop winning, whether intentionally or because of circumstance, it opens up a hole in our lives. We start to crave and search for victory in other areas of life. We find those victories by living vicariously through entertainment like Books, TV, and Sports. Or we achieve easier more immediate wins of our own through Video games or Gambling. Some of these alternate victories are more healthy than others. I think it's important to see them for what they are, an inbuilt need for slaying the proverbial dragon. Personally, I have used video games as a place to go and win when it felt like I was stuck in real life. It helps. It lets you get some wins, and satiate your internal need for achievement.
Another option that I've used and talked about before on this blog is setting alternate victory conditions. These serve as a safety net, a guarantee to ourselves that we can take risks and still come out with a win. The way I think this through is very similar to how Reid Hoffman describes making career changes in The Start-up of You. I try to look at my goals in three parts, goal A, B, and X. Goal A is my ideal scenario. It's total victory. Goal B is what I will settle for if I'm not quite able to make Goal A workout. Finally, Goal X is totally unrelated, and entirely under my control. The only person who could make me fail Goal X is me. With this system, I can be at peace knowing that even if the rest of the world would call the outcome of my endeavor a loss, I know it's really a win.
For example, I recently pitched my design work to a company. In this pitch, I essentially gave them work for free. My Goal A was they like the work and pay me for it. Goal B was they don't like this work, but pay me to do something else for them. And Goal X was I come out with a something to show my skills and how I'm willing to try and create value for free. Because I gave myself a win that I could control, anything more was gravy. In the end, I achieved Goals X and B. Win and win!
Thanks for taking a few minutes of your time to read what I have to say. In taking the time to read my blog, you've given me a win for the day. Now it's your turn. So go out there and kick some ass! Slay your own dragon! Get a win!
This is a mockup. Publish to view how it will appear live.