Is winning something good? Does winning benefit and support us in our expression?
It is normal to view winning as a positive experience. Winning is something most people strive towards, in various ways. Winning in our career through getting the best job, winning in our personal lives through having the best partner, winning in our education through having the best marks, and so on. Winning is a lifestyle that has become particularly accentuated in our fast paced lives. Though, there is a backside to winning, something that is easily missed or shunned, as the experience of winning is so tempting, exciting, and positive.
I will take an example from my own life which shows that becoming obsessed with, and defining oneself according to the experience winning is in-fact a limitation. It goes back to my years in elementary school. It was easy for me in school and I managed to get comparatively good marks. I was not necessarily the best, however, I was doing good – good enough for me to see myself as a ‘winner’. Then came a big change in my life, as my parents decided that our family was to move to another part of our country. I had to start a new school, and in that, I was now marked according to new standards. In this new school, I did not achieve the marks I had hoped for, and consequently, I went into an experience of feeling like a loser, and being depressed because I did not win anymore. This led me to struggle, fight, and push so that I could move myself forward in school, and get better marks again. To some extent I succeeded with achieving better marks at my new school, and again I went into that comfort zone of feeling like a winner – comparatively good at what I was doing.
Now, some might ask, what is the problem with this? You were quite good at school, had some problems, and then sorted it out, what is the story?
The problem is the fact that my drive, ambition, and push was always defined within the limits of energy and how I felt. I only pushed myself to excel and become better when I felt like I did not match my peers. Only then did it become relevant for me to go through the trials and tribulations to actually expand myself – and that is a LIMITATION. The fact is that, the moment we base our feeling of ourselves through comparison against others, we put a cap on our ability to excel, and expand. We only go as far as is required to feel feel good about ourselves, though not as far as we are able to take it.
Later in my life I decided to study law, and during this period of time I came to realize some important points about learning, self-expansion, and self-creation. I realized that if I want to become really good at what I am doing, I cannot use others as a benchmark. Instead, I must listen to myself, and be self-honest – I must be willing to admit to myself when I am not living to the utmost of my ability and then have the discipline to actively change myself. Having this perspective, studies, learning, work, and career becomes about self-perfection – it becomes about being the best that you are able to be – where there is no comparison – because you do it for yourself. That is also the definition of self-fulfillment – where you fill yourself through challenging yourself, through actively moving forward, through tirelessly looking at where, and how you can push yourself to become more.
Winning as such is a limitation because in making winning the focus you loose touch with yourself and your own potential. In winning, you have to conform to standards of what is considered right, and wrong – however your fullest potential might not even be able to be compartmentalized in such limited words as right, and wrong. Consider for example the work of Bruce Lee. He did not become the best karate or kung fu practitioner – instead he developed his own martial arts where he could express his own unique movements and physical characteristics fully. The same is true with any form of skill or ability that is being developed. To find and realize our full potential, we must do it for ourselves, we must listen to ourselves, and be open to what comes through from within.
The solution to this problem of being addicted to and driven by the desire to win is as such to let ourselves lose. Let go of the hierarchy, of who is the best, and who is the worst, and let us instead look at who we are, and how we can become the best version of OURSELVES. Let us find that innate and deep drive to develop and realize ourselves and make it the quest in all aspects of our lives to find out how much more we be.