Are you competitive? Did you click on this looking for the secret ingredient to win at life? We’re bred to thrive in a world of winning – of coming first, of being on top, of getting the gold medal. Whether it be in being the best at something, being the richest person in the room, or simply beating someone at a game of Scrabble, we’re told from birth that winning is the only answer.
The thing is, this rarely leads to a fulfilled life. If we’re constantly chasing the win – the type of win that only a few of us in this life might achieve – it’s stressful, it’s difficult, and it leaves us wanting.
But wanting to succeed is a part of human nature. So how do we get around that fact while remaining happy?
Define the win
Let’s imagine that two people are taking part in a road race. Hayley is a seasoned runner who does this professionally, and is chasing her next podium finish. Joanne, however, has never taken part in a race before, but enjoys the treadmill and wants to give a proper race a try.
It’s very clear to see that what constitutes a good result for Joanne would not apply to Hayley, who would be very disappointed with merely finishing it in a pretty slow finishing time. But if Joanne crosses that finish line, she’d be so proud of herself for making it that far, it wouldn’t even occur to her to be disappointed that she didn’t win.
It’s a pretty simple explanation, but you get the point. What is a win for Joanne, is not a win for Hayley. But they are both proud, because they have different standards of success.
How to win at life
Throughout life, we compare ourselves to each other far too much, when there are so many factors that determine our success. You need to decide on what constitutes a victory in your book. No one else’s.
Along with that, you also need to change your wins according to your current circumstances. You might have packed junk food in your children’s lunchboxes, but perhaps for you, the win was giving them a lunchbox rather than tuckshop money. The point is: you decide. No one else can tell you what a win looks like.
Being kind to ourselves is harder today than possibly ever before. We can all win at this life thing if we know what race we’ve signed up for. Readjust your wins, and celebrate.