How much energy do you invest in your life? Do you do things half-heartedly or do you give it all you've got?
Larry Wilson, a good friend of mine, once said, "There are two ways that you can live your life. You can play to win or play so you don't lose. It's your choice."
Playing not to lose is knowing how much work you have to do and doing only that-no more and no less. You're stingy with your energy. You don't invest any more than you have to. Playing not to lose is not doing anything extra.
It's asking yourself, "Well, what have they done for me?"
Playing not to lose is playing it safe. In football, it's a prevent defense. In golf, it's trying to protect your score. And the second you try to protect your score, what happens? Somebody flies right on by you. You lose. Playing not to lose is built around a restrictive motivation. You do just enough but nothing more.
The other option is playing to win. Playing to win means playing as hard as you can, with all that you can, as far as you can.
At Temecula Creek Learning Center, a corporate training facility, we do outdoor learning, where we have people climb up and stand on top of 25-foot poles. (To learn more about what we offer, visit us at www.teamxl.com.)
Some people are absolutely terrified of heights. So the thought of even getting both feet off the ground is more than they can handle. So playing to win for them means simply telling the truth, "I don't choose to climb." And we celebrate that.
For other people it means going halfway up the pole. That's playing to win too. Halfway up is further than they ever thought they could go. And it's something to celebrate. For other people, playing to win means going all the way up and touching the top. And for others, it means getting to the top, wearing the harness, and then jumping off.
For others, they just run up the pole. And for them playing to win is slowing down because their support people, the people holding the ropes, the belay system, can't keep up with them. So they've got to play the game differently. Those are the people out there that just go all out and they're hard to support but they always complain. They're good performers but they never take the time to acknowledge their support people. They're in reality kind of playing not to lose.
So how are you playing the game of life? How are you playing relative to work? Are you playing it safe? Are you playing not to lose or are you playing to win? Can you go home every night of your working life or of your family life and say, "I played to win. I worked as hard as I could. I went as far as I could. I took as many risks as I chose to take."
And some days, you know what? It doesn't work out. Some days, you don't win. But that's OK. You'll win tomorrow. But the main thing is, that when you ask yourself, "Did I play to win? Do I go as hard as I can with all that I can, as far as I can?" the answer is Yes!
Learn more about the Temecula Creek Learning Center