Santa brought me some great books for Christmas. One is Richard Branson’s Screw Business as Usual (awesome and super motivational!) and another is a collection of speeches from Australian sporting legends, like Sir Donald Bradman, John Bertrand and Nick Farr-Jones. It’s got me thinking a lot, particularly about winning and losing.
What constitutes being a winner? Success? Coming First? Achieving personal goals? Recognition? Representative honours? Attitude? Trying your best? Fame?
What constitutes being a loser? Failure? Not winning? Coming last? Giving up? Not being as good as someone else? Poor sportsmanship?
For mine, whether it’s in sport or life, a winner will always take responsibility for their own actions and do everything they can to the best of their ability. Giving up or not trying your best is simply not an option and is largely a result of your attitude. If you’re going to go to the effort to do something, then do it well. Choose your attitude and put everything you can into it. If it doesn’t work out as planned, then look at how you can improve for next time. Is there extra training, practice, research or time required to progress and do it better? If yes, then do it.
Ricky Ponting didn’t just score his first 100 in almost 2 years (while I’m writing this blog) under enourmous pressure without working hard, not giving up and not believing in his ability. Australia II didn’t break the longest domination in world sporting history to win the America’s Cup, just by using a cutting edge new winged keel. They raced in previous years, lost, then focussed intently on improving in every way possible. Steven Bradbury, Australia’s (and the Southern Hemisphere’s) first ever gold medal winter Olympian, didn’t just happen to be in a short course speed skating Olympic final where the other skaters all crashed. Many years of hard training, overcoming serious injuries that included a broken neck and a gash that bled 4 litres of blood and required 111 stitches and 3 previous Olympic Games all lead to that ultimate moment that he crossed the line first.
Success is also relative to a person’s goals and expectations and what one person may percieve a failure, another will percieve as a success. The media is great for sport, however, their perception of an athlete winning can be very different to the reality of the situation. Ian Thorpe, our most successful ever Olympian was perceived to have failed by a number of high profile media outlets in his comeback to international swimming last year, as he didn’t win a final. But is representing Australia and making the final in an international race really a failure, particularly for a person that hasn’t raced at that level for 5 years?
On a lighter note to finish with, here’s a few good winner and loser cliches that are actually a pretty helpful guide to keep a check on your attitude.
- The winner is always part of the answer, the loser is always part of the problem.
- Winners say “There ought to be a better way to do this”, losers say “That’s the way it’s always been done.”
- A winner feels responsible for more than their job, a loser says, “I only work here.”
- The winner sees an answer for every problem, the loser sees a problem for every answer.
- The winner says, “It may be difficult but it is possible”, the loser says, “It may be possible but it is too difficult.”
- When a winner makes a mistake, he says, “I was wrong”, when a loser makes a mistake, he says, “It wasn’t my fault.”
- A winner makes commitments, a loser makes promises.
- Winners have dreams, losers have schemes.
- Winners say, “I must do something”, losers say, “Something must be done.”
- Winners are a part of the team, losers are apart from the team.
- Winners see the gain, losers see the pain.
- Winners see possibilities, losers see problems.
- Winners believe in win-win, losers believe for them to win, someone has to lose.
Print them out and stick them to your wall - I have.