When I was channel surfing last night I paused for a moment on the local access station and listened to a high school coach who was being interviewed. One comment he made caught my attention. “Of course, we always want to win,” he said.
I found myself thinking about the impact of that way of thinking.
So many facets of our lives are defined by the construct of winning and losing. Not just with sporting events, but also in our work and in our politics, and even our relationships. Did we win or have we lost? Of course, there can only be one winner, right? The rest of us or the rest of the time we are the losers. We remember and celebrate and glorify the winners. The losers – most of us – are first criticized for not trying hard enough or fighting hard enough or being good enough and then forgotten. What an awful way to live.
In the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I haven’t always thought this way.
By nature I am competitive both in the sports in which I competed and with the teams that I have helped to coach. And, competitive, too, in other areas of my life. Looking back on it now, I wish I had done it differently, especially when I was working with children and youth.
Instead of talking only about winning, I wish the coach had said something like this: “Of course we always enjoy winning, but what I stress with my team, in each game we play, is for each person to do their best.” That is the message we need to be giving to our youth.
And, to our elected officials.
And, to our co-workers.
And, to ourselves.
At least, I need to say it over and over again to myself.
In the moment we have…
For the task at hand…
Can we bring our best and do our best?
Maybe if we approached life from that vantage point we would all be just a bit healthier and happier. And, if we are able to do that much, we will have accomplished a great deal.