The winning mindset
Are you unhappy when others are succeeding? Does your success seem dependent on someone else’s failure?
“Keeping up with the Joneses” is an expression that is commonly used to describe the attitude of always wanting to keep up with the neighbours in terms of possessions and wanting to have the things that our neighbours have.
Envy is another word that can be used to describe this frame of mind. This is a very appropriate word because it encompasses greed, jealousy, resentment and a strong desire for something somebody else has, usually at whatever cost.
The winning mindset – origins
Unfortunately, it is an attitude that is widespread, not only in Zambia, but all over the world. Throughout our childhood and most of our adult life, competition is the order of the day. Right from our school days we are taught that our self worth is measured in relation to other people.
At school, our grading system gives you a number at the end of the term. If you “pass number one” that means you are the best in your class. If you “pass number 25” that means there are 24 other kids that are better than you are. So if you want to be number one and “win” you must make sure that all the other kids “lose” and pass number two or more.
Wait a minute though, why can’t all the kids in class pass number one? Why must we compare one child to another? A simple pass or fail remark on the report card might be sufficient without necessarily stating numbers. Unfortunately for children, parents take these numbers very seriously.
This carries on through life. The boss must ensure that he does not allow his juniors to get too much knowledge or qualifications if he is to keep his number one spot as the top dog in the company. In fact, at times he must deliberately frustrate any efforts by his subordinates to progress.
Even amongst friends and relatives this occurs. Sibling rivalry does not always end when children grow up. A lot of times it continues. The success of one child in adulthood is measured against the success of another. It seems whatever we have achieved seems insignificant when compared to what so and so has done or acquired.
The winning mindset – dangers of the loser mentality
There are several reasons why envy is such a problem. Firstly, if you are envious of another person’s success that means you will never be satisfied with anything you ever achieve. The fact remains that most times there will always be someone that does better than you in some area.
Secondly, if you are envious of other people’s success it means you have no clue what you want for your own life. Just because the Joneses have it or do this and that does not mean you should have it or do it. Will it help you in achieving your own objectives and “minding your own business?” If you have a clear vision for your life, what another person achieves or acquires won’t matter: you will know exactly where you are, why you are there, where you need to go and what you need to do to get there.
Thirdly, carried to some extremes, envious people will even try to cripple the progress of others and stop it if possible. Rather than channel their energy into their own success they channel it into this very unproductive mindset: backstabbing, sabotaging, destroying at every chance they get and spending their prime time on thinking about others instead of thinking of ways to improve their own situation.
The winning mindset – the three basic mindsets
When it comes to succeeding in life there are three basics mindsets that people tend to have. These are the win/lose mentality, the lose/lose mentality and the win/win mentality.
People with a win/lose mentality would be those that compare themselves to other people all the time. They believe that in order for them to succeed others must fail. To them, success is relative.
Those with a lose/lose mentality believe that they can never achieve anything worthwhile so why should they let you do so. They try to keep other people in the sinking boat that they are in. Negativity is the order of the day for them. Don’t ever try to tell such people that you have great plans for your life – they will only criticize you and tell you it can’t be done. After all, they tried that already and it did not work!
Dreamers, who are achievers, have the win/win mentality. Not only do they know that they are capable of and will succeed, but they realise that their success does not depend on other people’s failure. To the contrary, their success depends on other people’s success.
The winning mindset – cultivate it
If you are to succeed in life and become the person you are meant to be, then you must know that you will not get there alone. Therefore you must help others to succeed and to become great if you are to be great yourself. It is often said that the greatest people are always those that help others.
Learn to be happy about others’ success and look forward to your own success. Do not judge yourself based on what others have achieved, but rather based on what you want to achieve. Depending on what you want in life, their success could be failure to you or vice versa, but it should not matter to you either way.
Life is not a race against other people. It is a one man race. You determine the destination, the route, the time limits and the prize. We are all running a different race. How do you compete with someone that is not on the same track as you are?
Envy and jealousy are habits you must always be weary of and stay clear of. Like other bad habits they will only rob you of your energy, creativity, drive, clarity of mind and enthusiasm for life.
The winning mindset – conclusion
Stephen R. Covey, in discussing this subject states: “Win/win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others…It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way.”
You are all you can be. Go on and be it.