Regardless of how you define “winning” in life, there are some common denominators that keep people from it. A lot of people it seems. Even a brief look at selected key indicators related to personal well-being and flourishing, especially America, can get you in a melancholy mood if not out-right depressed.
Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy
The other news is that there’s a lot we have within our control that we can leverage to Win. While it’s pretty simple stuff, it’s usually not easy….and not for the reasons most think. Why so difficult? Mainly because we just aren’t self-aware of what commonly trips us up.
Before I go further I have to give credit where credit is due. The stimulus for this post came to mind after re-listening to one of Tony Robbin’s “Get The Edge” lectures when my car hi-jacked my iPhone and auto-played the content…..which broke the technology rules. Seven of the points below come from Tony’s experience with the millions he has interacted with. The other one comes the experience of my great-grandmother who lived to be 106 yrs. old. My contribution is simply context and some elaboration.
These are eight big reasons why many people don’t win at the game called life and how you can instead:
- Don’t know the purpose of the game- how can you win if you haven’t defined what winning is? Decide what it is you really want. This takes time and ongoing reflection so schedule it; lather, rinse and repeat at least once a year. Determining your purpose in a way that can expand and grow with you is part of it. The other part is pondering the questions of life’s origin, meaning, morality and destiny……even if answers don’t come right away or aren’t as clear as you like.
- Have too many rules- most of the rules you have for your boss, friends, spouse and yourself result in you “shoulding” way too much on yourself and others. The reality is that the majority of these can be jettisoned and all of us would be much better off. Rules are important and they can also be toxic, especially when you impose your rules on someone else. If arguably the greatest person to ever walk the face of the earth said only two rules are paramount, how many more do we need?
- Refusing to work with people who have the “wrong” rules (i.e. their own)- with 7.125 billion people on a planet that is growing more connected all the time, this is going to be a problem for you if you can’t. Recognize they have as many messed up rules for themselves and others as you do and cut them some slack. Remind yourself that listening and being friends with them doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them. It also gives you the freedom to do just that.
- Have rules in conflict- this is a natural result of items 2 & 3 above. The more rules you have the more mental and emotional dissonance you’re going to experience. Of course, we’re brilliant at working around conflicting rules and letting ourselves off the hook with our own personal in-field fly rules. Even with our work-arounds, we still never quite get rid of the self-imposed residue of guilt. Losing 1/2 your rules now will go a long way in avoiding this one.
- Play by the rules and “lose”- sometimes your unrealistic expectations cause your disappointment. And sometimes, truly bad things do happen in life regardless of what you do. You get the trip to Iceland during winter instead of the one to Hawaii you had planned…..like, having a child with special needs instead of one born healthy. Recognize that there is meaning beyond the moment. Asking yourself self-defeating questions that have no answer, like “Why me?” will only cause a mental loop and keep you stuck. Instead, ask yourself empowering questions like “What can I learn from this pain to help myself and others?” and you may find a gift you never dreamed of. As Jim Rohn said, “never lose the good out of a bad experience.”
- Break the rules and win!- so, you violated what you hold sacred and your values….and you get a win! Well, maybe not so much. Now you now have to reconcile that short-term pleasure with your long-term interests and higher purpose. Remind yourself that ultimate pleasure isn’t what you get in life, it’s who you become and what you contribute in the process.
- Take life too seriously or not seriously enough- I get that our life is no practice session. I also know that life is filled with rhythms of all kinds and to live every situation out as if it were life-and-death is just as much a denial of reality as someone who is pollyanna all the time. The former is to live in fear and anxiety; the latter is to live with blinders on and ultimately disappointment.
- Take life on your terms instead of how it is- just because you feel or think something should be a certain way doesn’t mean it is, regardless of what color glassed you have on or how far down your head is in the sand. Learn to reframe any situation and stay positive while being able to accept and handle the negative.
Winning in life requires we know what we want and are aware of the obstacles that often keep us from it. Being aware of these 8 common pitfalls can maximize your opportunity to win
What’s working to get past one of these eight that’s showing up most often for you right now?
Please leave a comment, I’d love hear.