Tuesday, December 18, 2012



Don’t confuse winning to success. There can be an enormous difference in-between the two.

When I first started playing Little League baseball, the first coach I encountered believed the only goal noteworthy was to win. He said it over and over again. Winning is what the game is all about. Losers were forgotten, and winners celebrate. That was it. Do whatever it took, but win. There were no other options. The coach played all his favorite players, the rest of us got little or no playing time, and the team suffered and ended up having a losing season.

My next mentor had an entirely different approach. He wanted to teach us how to play the game, and had the philosophy if you enjoyed yourself and had a good time, the wins would come, but winning wasn’t our only hope. We had a fantastic year. Everyone on the team played, there were no favorites, and we had a ball. We did have a few kids that were remarkably good, but they wanted to help the rest of us get better.  When I started I wasn’t good, but by the end of that year I understood the game, how to hold the bat, catch the ball and even hit that little white thing they throw at the plate.

In school, I had many different teachers using antiquated methods of teaching from the book, but the ones that stood out, the teachers that to this day are remembered, taught from the heart. They cared about me and other classmates, and didn’t give a hoot about winning them over with an apple. The teachers I remember the most, cared about what we thought and felt. It was a class event.

In the work force, it worked the same way. Winning wasn’t always the answer, and by not winning you could learn how to create a different result from a distinctive and fresh direction, which in the end would have better results than what won.

In life, there are and always will be winners and losers. Some just fall into the gold while others work their tails off to get close. The issue isn’t how we got to our destination; it’s how we did it. Were we honest, or did we walk over a few bodies that slipped or got in the way?

Winning is a play on words. Oh don’t get me wrong. We all want to win at whatever we do. A better word is success. You can be a winner and still be a loser.  You can be methodical, caring and not have the must-win attitude and still become quite successful. Ok, so you may not have the winning mentality, but guess what – you don’t need it. I’ve met a lot of guys over the years who had the winning goal, the must win at all cost foolishness, and most of them forgot how to live life or have a good time. Are they winners? Maybe. Did they earn a lot of money? Probably, but are they wealthy? Most likely they are not wealthy but empty shells. To find wealth, you first need to know how to live, share and give back. Winning and success don’t necessarily go together.

I’ve known a few who sacrificed relationships to achieve means only to realize how lonely it was when they got there. In most cases, it was too late to go back and patch a broken relationship once they had been crushed.

Winning isn’t to see how much money you have. A true winner is comfortable in life, has developed a method to compartmentalize time and then has learned how to use it with family, children, friends, and business colleagues.

A happily married man or women didn’t step out to win a partner. They created a loving relationship, and then learned how to cultivate it. A secure family didn’t fall off a winning cart, it was developed gradually, and the kinks that popped up here and there were worked out. Relationships require time and lots of patience. Couples often use phrases like "thank you," "I apologize," or even better "I’m sorry," to resolve issues that have caused them to cross into an unsolvable argument. They also learned to listen to one another with both ears.

Life is a long road, not a winning road. How many times have you heard someone say the war was won, but everything was lost?

Peace, for the most part, isn’t won, it’s developed. You can’t earn trust by winning someone over, you first need to develop honesty and from there, build trust both sides can be satisfied with.

In the urgency to win the race, we get blindsided. Winning becomes the only thing relevant, only it isn’t the most important by a long shot. Life can be revered and thoroughly enjoyed, but you can’t win a life over with false and empty promises.

Sadly winning has been bred into our hearts and minds. In sports, winning is all that matters. In politics, it gets even worse. You must win in wars and battles, as there apparently is no other way. Countries must prevail over their opponents as compromise has long been forgotten. Unions fight to win over non-members, and there are those who actually believe you can win over something with monetary compensation.

History shows us that winning doesn’t breed success, it only means someone came out in front of the other. Sadly if, someone cheated to win, the end results are often tipped upside down.

Success means just that, there was a successful resolution to whatever the issue was, and both sides walked away happy, or solidly satisfied. That would be unprecedented.

A lasting peace doesn’t come from winning, it comes from building a foundation that all can benefit from. You can win a race, but would you stop to help a fallen runner and lose? The winner can boast, and pump a fist in victory, but the one who stopped to help a fellow individual will carry that success within for the rest of their life. They didn’t win, but they were most than successful.

We didn’t have the makings of a championship baseball team when I look back; we had a gifted teacher who made the whole experience fun. I learned a life-lesson of patience, and have tried to pass it on and share with others as often as possible.

Winning isn’t everything. Oh sure, if feels good to win and I won’t take that away from anyone, but there are times when winning is the least of importance to life.

You can’t win life, love or a relationship. You can force things to happen and generate winning results, but that never brings peace or happiness, it leaves pain and anger on the list to be dealt with later. Later usually ends badly for one side or the other.

Winning isn’t the same as being successful. Being successful doesn’t mean riches come easily, but it does clarify whatever the journey was to get there, was worth it. The answer is peaceful and full of meaning.

You may not win anything, but if you are successful in life, you are without a doubt, happy, content, and prosperous. When sleep arrives, you know how to unwind a peaceful heart.