There certainly is a fine line between winning and losing, and yet there are clear differences that separate winners from losers.
Winning cannot always be understood as only achieving a specific outcome, because thieves and plunderers may achieve certain outcomes and yet they are not truly winners.
The Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu understood this when he postulated, ‘To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.’
There are opposing theories that look at the question of whether competition is a good or bad thing. The entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel said that, ‘competition is good for society and bad for business.’
A question that arises would be, is it acceptable to sabotage others in order to win?
If the answer is yes then there is a possibility of a person being super competitive or actually a coward. Only further investigation would reveal which would be appropriate for each person.
However, these 7 things that winners do consistently are things that traverse the boundaries of those know how to win in any environment.
They respond to both positive and negative feedback in the right way
If an individual strives to achieve a challenging goal then there will be periods of uncertainty on the way there, and the ability to acknowledge when pivotal changes need to be made is a trait of a real winner.
In Jim Collins’ book, ‘Good to Great:Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t’ Collins addressed this issue in the section entitled ‘Confront the Brutal Facts:’ in this section he looked at how individuals and corporations would confront the brutal facts of their situation even if it meant understanding that their situation was bleak, and they had to learn how to deal with that situation until they could make progressive changes to their current situation.
‘Prosperity does not elevate the sage and adversity does not depress him.’ – Seneca the Younger
One of the most important lessons that I leant was that the most successful investors in the world were right just over half of the time, and yet it was how they managed their money, their attitude towards risk and their psychological strength that determined whether they would be successful or not.
A large percentage of people are what I call ‘fair-weather’ people, and a fair-weather person is someone who judges situations only from a superficial perspective. If the economy goes up then they are happy, and if it goes down then they are depressed.
The problem with this type of thinking is that a fair-weather person is never in control of their life or results; they live in reaction to stimuli from other people and events.
A winner understands that everything in life changes and moves, and just because something is going well today it could collapse tomorrow, and vice versa.
They are not afraid of making decisions
Winners know that they have to get moving toward their goals and they also know that there is not a ‘perfect time’ to get moving or started, they simply take action, and for complex goals they put a plan together before they start.
This does not mean that every attempt to succeed works, but it does mean that a sure way to fail at anything is to never try.
‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’ – Wayne Gretzky
It is natural for everyone to experience a fear of failure at some point, and only people who are completely devoid of emotional maturity have no fear at all. At the same time a winner will not let their fear of failure inhibit them from going after their goal.
Winners take full responsibility for making decisions and understand that they may not go to plan, but they need to take a chance on the unknown in order to achieve the success that they desire.
They use language in a way that contributes to their success
Winners are not afraid to affirm their intentions to win or take control of a situation. They are unapologetic for their success and although some may be more diplomatic and tactful than others, they know what their objectives are and they shape their reality through the words that they use.
For some people it may be difficult to understand what a huge impact the words that we use have on our lives and results.
Winners can often be deceptive in their use of language to frame or re-frame things in a positive light, this can be known by many names such persuasion, transformational vocabulary, spin, embellishment, and the like.
Whether a winner would choose to stretch the truth or not, one thing remains clear, and that is that they all have in common is that they will always use their words to their advantage and never in ways that would impede their success or happiness.
Their language is clear in relation to what they want, they do not backtrack and make excuses for their desires, they are forceful and clear with their intentions.
They never forget what the end goal is
Winners know exactly where the end goal is, although they may not initially know how to initially get there.
‘I see only my objective - the obstacles must give way.’ – Napoleon Bonaparte
Some winners are obsessive about their goals while others take a more laid back view. The important thing is that with each moment they are moving in the right direction. You can only hit a target that you can see and unfortunately there are many who allow themselves to be distracted from their own purpose and objectives and become involved in issues and topics that have no positive impact on their success, so invariably they waste their time and make other people’s dreams come to fruition while neglecting their own.
In some respects a winner has to think and act selfishly by focusing on their objective. Most of the most significant achievements will require the help of other people and in order to get the most out of other people it is essential to focus on things that are important to them and not just for yourself.
A real winner must be able to work with other people and enrol people in his or her vision. It is true that people typically think of their own goals over 95% of the time, so skills in influence and persuasion will be required in order to succeed.
A story that perfectly encapsulates the qualities of a winner comes down to us from antiquity from the storyteller who was known as the Aethiop and is commonly known today as Aesop. This story is the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare
The tale of Tortoise and the Hare
The Hare was once boasting of his speed: “I have never been beaten,” said he, “when I go full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me.”
The Tortoise said quietly, “I accept your challenge.”
“That is a good joke,” said the Hare; “I could dance round you all the way.”
“Keep your boasting till you’ve won,” answered the Tortoise. “Shall we race?”
So a course was fixed and the race started. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the finish line and could not run up in time to save the race.
The moral: Slow and steady wins the race.
There is another valuable lesson within that tale is that even though others may be stronger or quicker or have greater resources than you in a particular area you can always succeed if you are clear on your desired outcome.
They create opportunities from chaos
Everything in life has the meaning that you give to it. If you think that things are terrible, then they will be. If you think that there is no hope then you will prove yourself right. If you believe that there is always a way to succeed then you will prove yourself right also.
At the same time it is not as simple as just believing something, and yet that is a wonderful place to start, and often we will only see something when we believe it first. Some people say that ‘seeing is believing’ and yet the truth is that we mostly believe things and then we see them.
Therefore you will have some people who will go through life by only seeing problems and negativity in the world and because they focus on those situations then they perpetuate those experiences in their own lives constantly.
Winners can create opportunities from nothing, however this does not mean that every attempt ends in success. Many winners have tried for months or years to achieve their goals in life.
To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If.’ If you can keep your mind clearly focused while others are allowing their mind to be distracted by advertisers, media corporations, enemies, and the like, then the world belongs to you.
Winners do not wait for things to happen, they make things happen and do not need to ask for permission to get things started.
This often creates envy from losers who complain about their lack of opportunity.
The truth is that there is always opportunity around. It simply takes the right type of person to take control of their thoughts and imagine a reality that does not yet exist.
‘You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘ Why not?’ – George Bernhard Shaw
The ability to think and act clearly is one that will distinguish the winners from everyone else.
They are willing to pay the price
Paying the price is a thing that winners consistently do on their journey to success.
One of the things that winners commit to doing is to learn as much as they can about the goals that they are want to achieve. This does not mean that they do everything themselves, some will build teams around them to take care of other things that they are not well suited for.
An interesting thing now is that we find an interesting change in how people educate themselves about anything. We can observe that many people are more interested in being entertained than taught and visual social media platform and media channels are extremely popular ways to get educated about practically any topic.
Another interesting thing is that the ratio of successful people is still the same as if it was 50 years ago. Typically 5 in 100 people will end their life as a rich or financially independent person.
The truth is that it is extremely hard to predict massive success, and the billionaire entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban said that, ‘the only thing in life you can control is your effort,’
Winners put everything in to their ventures and they either take advantage of unexplored opportunities or they completely align with their passion, which allows them to keep going when others would quit.
There certainly are no guarantees of success in any area of life, and just because a person is committed to ‘never giving up’ that is not enough to secure success.
There should be indicators of success to determine whether you are on the right path or not. For our potential clients we advise that they should initially be able to generate enough income to pay for their lifestyle at a basic level, so the goal of the yachts, helicopters, mansions, sports cars and the like should all be kept, however the reality should be that you should be able to pay for your food, clothing and shelter at a basic level from your business.
A number of winners also push their bodies to the limit in terms of the amount of effort that they put into achieving success. Many sleep only a few hours a night, and work every day. Others manage to win with far less effort exerted. The results will depend on the industry and the amount of difficulty required in achieving something.
If a winner has a natural talent for something then that would still require a great deal of work, training and maintenance, however that would be far less effort than a person who has to develop things from the ground up in a brand new industry.
The person who has to build a business from the very start with no real experience has a huge mountain to climb, and yet it is possible to win if they are committed enough and will put in the work required to do it.
One way is to collaborate and joint venture with other people who have access to others or resources that you can use. You can use barter methods of exchange if you are short on financial resources.
You can see our information on how to set joint ventures up here:
A winner will find any method or combination of methods to achieve their goals and they will be able to amend and adapt their plans due to the unpredictable nature of life.
They know how to win
It may sound overly simplistic, but winners know how to win. We do not live in a fair world and al people are not created or treated equally, and possibly never will until humans elevate to another level of consciousness, however for today it is important to know that a winner is not a person who has the most, but a person who maximises the most of what they have in relationship to where they started from.
The entrepreneur Ray Kroc once said, ‘It is no achievement to walk a tightrope laid flat on the floor.’
In order to win at the highest level there should be some type of achievement involved, and not merely an activity that requires a minimal amount of effort.
Sun Tzu understood the purpose of knowing how to win before the task is undertaken. ‘Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.’
The practice of visualization is a vital part of winning. The objective here is to see the victorious situation before it happens in reality, and yet the practice of seeing it first opens up the possibility for it to happen in reality.
Ultimately the achievement of the results are what really matter and many people get caught up with the mental side of things without being able to translate into thoughts into tangible results.
The winner will do whatever is necessary to win and they will develop and cultivate the habit of winning. Winners are often seen as ‘lucky’ because they always seem to be on their way from one success to another, and this is true.
This is an essential thing to understand because success perpetuates more success, and failure creates more failure.
The interesting thing is that the same experience could happen to two people at the same time, and if one person is a ‘winner’ then they will turn that situation to their advantage and if the other person is a ‘loser’ then they will find a way to ruin their opportunity.
An example of a person who knew how to win was the Italian polymath Michelangelo Buonarroti. He lived from 1475 to 1564 and he played an instrumental role in the development of European culture during the 15th and 16th centuries.
His list of achievements are too numerous to list here, and his personality was often combative and disagreeable, however I wanted to quote a poem attributed to him, and it gives a short account of the price that he paid consistently throughout his life in order to be a winner.
This poem was entitled ‘On the paining of the Sistine Chapel’ and it was sent to a Giovanni Da Pistoja.
I’ve grown a goiter by dwelling in this den—
As cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy,
Or in what other land they hap to be—
Which drives the belly close beneath the chin:
My beard turns up to heaven: my nape falls in,
Fixed on my spine: my breast-bone visibly
Grows like a harp: a rich embroidery
Bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin.
My loins into my paunch like levers grind:
My buttock like a crupper bears my weight;
My feet unguided wander to and fro;
In front my skin grows loose and long; behind,
By bending it becomes more taut and strait;
Crosswise I strain me like a Syrian bow:
Whence false and quaint, I know,
Must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye;
For ill can aim the gun that bends awry.
Come then, Giovanni, try
To succor my dead pictures and my fame;
Since foul I far and painting is my shame.
Translated by John Addington Symonds
Michelangelo’s poem describes in part the effort required to be a winner, and many are not prepared, willing or able to pay the price in order to succeed.
If you are pondering whether you are a winner or not then go back through this piece and see if it resonates with you, and also if you want to take things to the next level.
We have been able to work with a number of the world’s most influential brands because we have paid the price in order to do so, and another thing is that a winner never lives in the past of previous achievements, they are always preparing for the next victory.