An Argument Against Winning

I’ve come across a lot of tag lines lately encouraging people to be winners.  I wonder how motivating that is to most people.  What does winning even mean? Does it mean you get the spoils?  I’m not sure I want that. Google says Charlie Sheen’s the most popular winner.  I definitely don’t want to be that guy.  If, by definition, it makes someone else a loser, I don’t wish for that to happen either.

photo credit: thefanmanifesto.com

American society celebrates winners, but, like so many things we blindly applaud, we rarely take a step back and figure out exactly what we were cheering for.  Dissecting takes work, and we don’t like unnecessary work.  We just want to ‘like’ something and move on.  We’ll know what we like when we see it again.

We also don’t like to be wrong.  We don’t like the principles that we believe in and built our life on to be questioned.  We shake our head, disregard the main points without fully reading, and dismiss any evidence testifying otherwise.

But perhaps, just perhaps, there may be a greater truth that you never considered.  Try to entertain that thought.

Winning is about moments.  Shining for a moment and then being dropped back into the regularities of life.  It makes the ordinariness of things seem dull in comparison.  You spend much more time in your life Not Winning.  It makes sense to find the good in that.

Winners don’t go back to the drawing board like non-winners do.  They don’t have a chip on their shoulder.  They don’t have something to prove, a Goliath to topple.  Winners get buried in the expectations of their own victories.  They scratch and claw to stay exactly where they are, at the top.  They convince others that this is where they want to be.  Not Winners make more gains.  Non Winners have farther to go, and they relish the journey.

Winners don’t invest much in anything new.  They’ve won and they have their formula and their plan is re-use.  Non Winners invent things.  They try things.  They seek how to BE different things.  Winners simply continue.  Non Winners create.

Non Winners analyze and evaluate.  They want to be successful at life. Winners hoard and protect their piece.  They carve and they dig and they find themselves in a sacred little rut.  They settle, because victory showed this was enough.  Winners proceed, day in and day out, doing all the same things, entrenching themselves in this glorified person and this place.  Non Winners want to experience everything.

Winners aren’t very helpful.  They establish a false standard.  They stunt and funnel what the world could be by establishing who theyare and what the top of the food chain looks like.  It is a contradiction of collective happiness. There doesn’t need to be a hierarchy at all.

photo credit: bizepic.com

I am fascinated by the idea that success can be defined by your humanity.  It can be measured by the help you offered up.  Not in number or in depth (because competition thrives in even the hint of comparison) but in simplicity and sincerity.  Those who can help do help, and make it a point to not make those receiving help feel small.  Those receiving help can then use their new found knowledge and know how to guide and help others.  An astounding cycle of empowerment can be created. 

So hold doors, let people cut in front of you in traffic.  Let the antsy guy get his coffee first.  You will be OK.  In fact, you’ll find the joy and peaceful patience of being better than ok.  The willingness to allow yourself to come in second makes for a renewing triumph you can’t help but share. 

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