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Winning Isn't Everything  28.04.2009

We’ve all heard the saying that winning isn’t everything. We might even hear the statement: ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it is how you played the game.’ Try telling that to someone that came runner up by 2 hundreds of a second in their last Olympic swimming final.

What about the person who loses corporate sponsorship because he or she only finished ‘second’ in the world rankings? How about a football coach that got axed because the team lost too many games? Even though winning might not be everything, it is still important. It can be very frustrating for someone who has put in lots of time and effort only to attain results below their expectations.

I was privileged to watch the finish of the Masters golf tournament. 48 year old Kenny Perry was attempting to become the oldest person to win a major golf tournament. He was so very close to securing an historic win as he held a 2 shot lead going into the 71st hole. Realistically, two pars would probably have sealed the win for him.  However, Kenny’s final two holes are ones he would rather forget as he bogeyed both of them. In the playoff, he again made another error and handed Angel Cabrera the Masters title.

It was cringe worthy stuff, and I felt sorry for Kenny who had come so close but had seemed to ‘choke’ at the final hurdle. Commentators couldn’t believe it; the crowd was shocked; and Kenny was disappointed (as you would be). However, what came next was truly inspiring.

Kenny was interviewed about his performance. The true measure of someone’s character is how he or she responds when things go wrong. Even though Kenny did not win the tournament, he won many fans and supporters by how gracious he was in defeat.

“I’ll look back the rest of my life saying what could have been. But…I’m not going to go there. Because if this is the worst thing that happens in my life, my life’s pretty good….I got my mom struggling with cancer. My dad is struggling. I got a lot of people who are hurting now. And here I am playing golf for a living and having the time of my life….I’m not going to play pity person. And you know what? I’m going to enjoy it. I really am. I fought hard and was proud of the way I hung in there.”

Over the years, I have also seen many losers who are indeed winners. They maintain a great attitude despite the outcome; they play in the right spirit and always put in a terrific effort.

In the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ the Jamaican bobsled coach had this to say: ‘If you are not enough without a gold medal, you’ll never be enough with one.’ Many people do not receive all the awards, trophies and certificates that they deserve. However, they win the game of life by showing qualities that others admire – and they inspire others to be better people at the same time.

The ‘I won’t be happy unless I win’ mentality is one that is fraught with danger. It fosters a selfish spirit that can unearth many negative emotional states that repel others.

Competition is a great thing. It can push us to new heights and enable us to discover parts of ourselves that lay dormant within. A competitive nature, coupled with gratitude and a genuine caring for others is a true, long-term recipe for success.

I wish you well in winning the game of life, and hopefully a few golf tournaments (if that’s your thing) along the way.

 

Have a great day. Enjoy the journey,

 

Blake Beattie

"Search your heart, open your mind, live the dream."

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