“If you ain’t first, you’re last. You know, you know what I’m talking about? “
– Ricky Bobby
“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”
– Vincent Lombardi
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
– Michael Jordan
My morning run typically ends at a park. Given that summer has just started more than a few dozen kids can be found running around and playing on any given morning. In between sets, (pushups/pullups) I notice that seemingly everywhere kids are competing; racing on foot, racing on bikes (one tiny kid had a bike that didn’t even have peddles and was racing!) everywhere I looked kids were playing tag, soccer, etc. Then, it spilled out of my mouth; jaw dropped, ipod blaring in my ears, “duh, (i said to me) competition IS natural.”
News flash! It’s human nature to compete. However, somewhere between when I was six years old and my daughter turned six we became “NICE”. You know, no winners and no losers. “Don’t worry Jimmy, just feel good.” Sarah, (who scored 3 goals) looks confused as we explain why she didn’t actually win. “there are no winners Sarah.”
While there are many larger societal challenges at the moment this one is on my radar. When and WHY did we decide we could reverse thousands of years of competitive evolution and teach kids NOT to compete? Does anyone think Sarah really believes there are no winners? Who thinks the Olympic games are going to disappear anytime soon? Guess what, kids know better instinctively.
Our attempts to shelter our kids from this NATURAL and very REAL existence of competition (yes, there are actually winners and losers) is doing them a disservice and I think our collective good intentions are misdirected. First, it’s the wrong message. we shouldn’t be telling them there are no winners or losers. We should be teaching them and coaching them about HOW to compete, HOW to win, and yes, HOW to lose and even WHY competition is healthy and positive.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”
– Henry Ford
Lately, I’ve been contacted repeatedly about a “starting point” as though there was some green circle to go stand on to start the game (of life). Well, unfortunately, while there is NOT a single one per se— there is fundamentally above all, A MINDSET of BELIEF, RESPONSIBILITY (ownership) and SELF-CONFIDENCE (can you win this game or not?)
That is a question you should ASK NOW. In fact, stop everything you are doing and just ask that simple question… “CAN YOU WIN THIS GAME?” Yes, then of course you need to define what “winning” is and hopefully it’s a little better than Charlie Sheen’s.
This quote, in my estimation, may be Ford’s best invention. Perhaps, even better than his invention of the automobile for mass production.
It explains succinctly, and yet very accurately, the vital role of BELIEF in the workings of your life. You simply can’t be successful in any endeavor if you don’t first start with the proper mindset – a belief in your ultimate success.
Yes, your mindset – how you view the world and your place within it -and your belief “system” (related paradigm) control your ability to reach your intended target. And, here’s the kicker–FROM THE VERY START!
Our core beliefs fall into two MASTER categories which are not unlike the core underlying “boot” records in computer terminology – which are called Master Boot Records.
(excerpt “SUCCCESS, The 3 C’s”, The Success eBook by Mitch W. Steel) If we follow that analogy and apply it to our belief systems – we have essentially two Master Belief Records (MBRs) that affect our lives and determine our ultimate destiny. These would be 1) Our Self-Belief Record “SBR” (essentially, self-esteem) and 2) Our External Belief-Record “EBR”. That is, how you regard everything you encounter external to your self.
The successful person recognizes the power of these two beliefs – she becomes aware of their importance and how to manipulate them to her advantage. She understands that how she views herself – her SBR, essentially sets her level of achievement and what she deems achievable in her life.
Similarly, her EBR determines how she views her external world (friendly or oppressive) and this too begins to define her place in that world and what she is likely to experience in her external world.
Possessing the awareness to recognize that you are the only one who establishes and sets up your Master Belief Records which then ultimately define your life’s outcome- is an essential first step to setting up the “rules” that allow you to “WIN” or “Lose” the game of life.
The great news is, should you come to recognize your Master Belief Records are not currently setup in a fashion that allows you to win – you have the ability to reset them anytime you’d like!
Consider that the world offers us countless examples of people who, as they must, self-actualize their Master Belief Records – their core belief systems.
These two critical existential vantage points- how people view themselves and how they view the world – literally control and direct the manifestation of everything they are able to realize – including their success.
Here again, the simple reveals the profound. If I believe people are not going to help me become successful – what type of people might I expect to see in my life? If I think people are always looking to take advantage of me?
What type of people might I expect to see in my life? If I’m concerned people only want my money and aren’t interested in being my friend – what type of people might I see in my life? In each case I’ve directed my ATTENTION and FOCUS in a way that makes “winning” the game near impossible.
Yes, your Master Belief Records affect everything!
If I were to setup my external MBR with its most fundamental “root” belief – “people are selfish”. This leads to the sub-binary belief then that people are not likely to help me when I need it most or perhaps when I’m looking for a job. As you can see – this establishes a “game” that is nearly un-winnable or at the very least – makes it extremely hard to win.
Our beliefs allow us to arrange the associated thoughts in a fashion that makes “winning” possible or impossible. It is your choice.
Above, you’ve seen a simple diagram to help illustrate this binary relationship. It is literally called the “GAME TREE” – and demonstrates how a software programmer has offered the binary consequences within the game-program. In other words, what a winning set of binary combinations (decisions/choices) might be. These binary beliefs either setup the player to win or lose. Or, in our case, to realize her ideal future or not.
Whether we know it or not, as we establish our Master Belief Records they then generate sub beliefs which all eventually lead us down a path that is either a successful outcome or one filled with disillusionment and frustration.
Sadly, so many people actually start this “game” of life- believing they don’t have a shot. Or, more accurately, through continued “failures” and disappointments- become disillusioned and then create self-defeating Master Belief Records. The successful people though are those who believe (and this is the kicker) that life is a “winnable” game from the outset!
So, is this life a winnable “game”?
You tell me.
PS: just noted from John Lennon’s Dream #9
“There’s magic in the air.. I Believe, I Believe… More can I not say So, what more I can say?”
“It’s like Muhammad Ali used to say, when people asked him how many sit-ups did you do: I only start counting when it starts hurting.
– Arnold Schwarzenegger
When Do You Start Counting?
By: S. Kelley
Let’s be frank (or Joe for that matter).
Most of us don’t like pain. Arnold Schwarzenegger, champion bodybuilder and erstwhile Terminator, viewed Muhammed Ali as a great role model for success. He recounted a terrific story about The Greatest in an interview in the ‘70s.
As Schwarzenegger explained it, Ali was asked, “How many sit-ups do you do?” He said, “I don’t know”. “I don’t count my sit-ups… I only start counting when it start to hurt! When I begin to feel the pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.”
More Schwarzenegger and his “Six Rules of Success” can be found in our previous post here! But stick around first and try to FOCUS! ; )
So, what do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammad Ali and even great Olympic curlers have in common? Yes. They may all seem to be strange bedfellows, but they embody a basic tenet of success and goal-achievement:
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
While watching the 2018 Olympics the other day, I found myself mesmerized not by snowboarders or skiers and their death-defying leaps. No, it was curling that fascinated me. An ordinary-looking guy was sort of ice-bowling a disk while his partner furiously swept alongside the sliding granite stone. It almost looked . . . easy.
The announcer must have been reading my mind. “Don’t forget, folks. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.” Turns out that hurtling a 40-pound rock down a sheet of slippery ice while trying to hit a small target takes (certainly) some level of athleticism, patience and an enormous amount of SKILL.
In short, becoming an Olympic curler is likely to take years of hard work, training, sacrifice and involve some pain.
Piers Steel, author of the Procrastination Equation, talks about an elite cyclist’s trick for pushing past the pain threshold: micro-goal-setting. “Ivan Basso (aka Ivan the Terrible) is one of the best mountain bike riders of all time. One of his motivational tricks is to set a series of targets for the race, each one within sight and as short as thirty secondsif negotiating a series of bends. One at a time, he focuses on finishing each one.”
Steel recounts a similar story about micro-goal-setting— but one with life-or-death consequences.:
“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard. How powerful is this mantra?
Joe Simpson, in one of mountaineering’s greatest survival stories, used it to save his life. Left for dead at the bottom of a crevasse in an isolated Peruvian mountain with a shattered shinbone, he had three days to pull himself to a base camp through five miles of truly treacherous glacier field or be really dead.
He was already utterly exhausted from an arduous marathon of an ascent, with no food and only a little water, so this journey should have been impossible, except for one critical survival tool: his wristwatch. With it, he set goals. Setting the alarm for twenty minutes at a time, he made for a nearby rock or drift — he was elated when he reached it in time and he despaired when he didn’t. Battling exhaustion, pain, and eventually delirium, he repeated the same process hundreds of times and ultimately reached the perimeter of the base camp just hours before his friends’ intended departure.”
It ALL comes down to pain. Or, to be more accurate, your pain threshold. How much pain and frustration can you endure before you give up? Can you be like Ali and Schwarzenegger and use pain as the signal to BEGIN counting?
Challenge yourself every day — starting today. Become uncomfortable with comfort. Brian Tracy likes to say that “Comfort is the great enemy of success.”
Become comfortable with discomfort AND pain. DO the work until it hurts AND THEN START COUNTING!
More PAINful advice here:
A great article in Runner’s World, “Tricks To Push Through Midrace Pain,” (https://www.runnersworld.com/psychology/mental-tricks-to-push-through-midrace-pain) offers some advice for making it through a seemingly impossible challenge, with techniques that can be applied to any discipline, not just running. The author discusses how to stick to the grind despite the pain by recalling past sacrifices, practicing gratitude and even meditating.
Another insightful article similarly discusses the idea of “training for pain.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/fashion/29FITNESS.html). Pushing your training in intervals, it points out, increases your tolerance for pain and exertion naturally. Tricks such as external distractions and relaxation exercises can help nudge you farther on your quest (be it a race or another type of goal achievement. If all else fails, we are advised to: “Suck it up.”
So, dear reader, one final time, when do you start counting?
How do you develop it? Check this out — the answer is a bit of a no-brainer but bears repeating. Here’s a clue – how do you develop any HABIT? Plus, why writing yourself a letter is a good idea and how you process feedback is essential. All good messages shared by Dr. Ivan Joseph in his Tedx talk, The Skill of Confidence.
Remember, if you aren’t going to believe in you… who is?