7/23/2008

Are you playing to win or are you playing not to lose?

I've heard the term "play to win' on several occasions. It wasn't until I was introduced to the phrase "playing not to lose" that I truly understood what playing to win really meant.

One of the major differences between the two phrases lies in the attitude of the person. The attitude of someone playing to win varies greatly from the person playing not to lose. Playing to win requires the person to make offensive moves and take proactive, even risky, actions. Ever seen a physical fight between two people? Do you remember a fight when you could clearly identify the person who is clearly trying to win the fight? The one who's goal it is to win throws many more blows than the other individual. That person may even try some other tactics to win the fight like teasing or taunting to get in the head of the other person. Contrast those actions with that of the person playing not to lose. That person only has one objective, protect himself.

If protecting means curling up in a ball and refusing to throw any blows, then so be it. Not losing is that person's main objective. This type of reasoning is inherently flawed for one reason, the person playing not to lose ultimately ends up losing.

Let's put this type of behavior in perspective. Someone who chooses not to say anything during a staff meeting for fear of sounding stupid (playing not to lose), creates a persona that he/she does not have anything of value to add to the discussion (that person ends up losing). The person who obsessively warns her child of the dangers of taking risks(playing not to lose), ends up with an unstable adult child who is unable and unwilling to take care of himself (losing). The examples are endless. The main point I want you to absorb is the potential disaster that can occur when one takes action, or fails to take action, for fear of losing and not with the intent to win.

So how do you position yourself so that you are playing to win?

Plan-One major reason why we don't take calculated risk is because we haven't planned in advance. Lack of planning creates fear. Fear leads to discomfort. Discomfort breeds inaction. Inaction equals loss. When you think ahead, you can strategize some great moves you can make when the time is right. The person who prepars for the staff meeting can put together a list questions or talking points ahead of time. When she proactively shares her ideas with the team, she is playing to win.

Stretch-Once you've planned your offensive attack, you still have to contend with the fear that will creep up once you face your opposition. Playing to win means throwing blows even if you have punches coming at you. In fact, that is the worse time to double over in fear. If you do, you will have to work through the negative feelings which develop as a result of your lack of effort.

Your subconscious knows when you are playing not to lose instead of playing to win. I'm sure you can recount numerous occasions when you had feelings of guilt or regret for not giving your all or doing your best. It's a miserable feeling that takes a while to get over. On the other hand, have you ever given your all into some thing valuable to you that you didn't win? You may feel crummy right after the loss but as time passes, you relive the details in pride knowing that you gave everything you could. Hence, there are little to no regrets attached to the memory.

Another key point to remember is that every action you take translates into either you playing to win or you playing not to lose. If you pick out your clothes for tomorrow at the very last moment, you are playing not to lose. Just the fact that you decided to wear clothing keeps you from losing. But if you were to pick out your attire the night before, properly iron the clothes, polish your shoes, and coordinate your accessories, you are playing to win. You are saying to the world "I made a conscious effort to look fantastic. I am taking my appearance seriously, I am playing to win!"

I want you to carefully scrutinize your efforts, all of your efforts, from this day forward. Your main objective should always be to play to win. By winning I don't mean defeating the opponent, I mean playing the best game you can possibly play. Your goal should be to give maximum effort to everything you do. This is the mark of someone who plays to win.

I'll leave you with a thought.

"Winning isn't everything, but if you don't play to win, you get nothing."

7/18/2008

Taking the path of most resistence

The first thought that comes to our minds when we have to take a trip across town is how can we get there in the fastest way and with the least amount of traffic possible. The object of the trip is to avoid any and all hindrances that may delay our arrival. If we are able to successfully reach our destination ahead of schedule, then we had reached our goals and exceeded our expectations.

Taking the path of least resistance has become our default mode of operation. Its now all about getting to what we want with the least amount of exertion, money, or thought energies possible. No one thinks to themselves how they can accomplish what needs to be done by taking the most difficult route available.

There are very problems that come along with taking the path of least resistance, especially when we are talking about the area of manifesting your intentions and reaching your goals. Using the easiest and fastest route to complete a routine task is one thing, but taking shortcuts and using other time and energy savers may be doing you more harm than good. For me taking the path of least resistance is like purchasing the dollar store brand product instead of saving your money to buy the highest quality possible. Sure, at first you'll feel some sort of instant gratification from the money you saved up front, but you'll eventually rethink your decisions when you realize that you have to now spend even more money to get the results you wanted, in the first place, by purchasing the quality product.

When it comes to manifesting your intentions, you will have to look objectively at the many ways available of realizing your goals. Some of those options will seem easy, such as buying a diet pill to reach your weight loss goals. Other choices may not be as appealing like getting up at 5:00 am every day to incorporate physical exercise into your daily habits. There is very little resistance to purchasing a magic weight loss pill. The solution to your issue is fast and easy and your results are quickly realized. Daily exercise, however, seems to be the most difficult solution to your goals. You first have to train yourself to get up in the morning, then you actually have to put yourself through rigorous exercise on a daily basis. That path is probably very unappealing when compared to the first option. So most of us probably end up choosing the easier of the two to the detriment of our goals.

There are several reasons why you should chose the path of most resistance when you are accomplishing your goals. One reason is because you will have to use more of your personal power and energy. In the example of the diet pill, you were not the cause of the weight loss, the pill was. If you rely on some sort of external solution to reach your goals, you are essentially building your house with a deck of cards. The minute you stop taking the diet pills, your weight comes back with a vengeance and all of your precious achievements are gone. If short lived results are not what you are striving for, stay away from the easiest way to get it done.

When you opt for the path of least resistance, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to build the foundation for your new reality. Think about a developer who opts to take as many shortcuts as possible to build a new high rise. How sturdy would that structure be? If that builder decided to take shortcuts to beat project deadlines and make bonuses, chances are that the builder would end up loosing all of the benefits gained and then some if a structural issue arises and a lawsuit ensued. A strong foundation is essential whenever you undergo a take on new habits, goals, and intentions. Taking the path of most resistance means that you will allow for the time needed to create this foundation so that the entire frame can be fully supported and not easily moved.

So how do you know if you are taking the path of most resistance? You have to make that choice but you want to consider several factors. If you have a sense of fear or apprehension to one of your options, chances are that this choice is one of most resistance. For example, you want to develop the habit of becoming more social. You quickly go over your options in your mind and you have to chose between reading a book on becoming more social or setting a goal of starting one conversation with a stranger on a daily basis. The second choice may create a slight feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach which makes you go for a book instead. What you chose was the path of least resistance and because of that, you are actually delaying the realization of your intentions.

What I want you to consider now, as you set your goals, is the amount of fruit that can be reaped when you chose to do that which scares you. Instead of selling yourself short by choosing what you think is the easy way out, give yourself a real opportunity for lasting success and results by taking on the path of most resistance. Every time you chose the path of most resistance, you are raising the bar on who you are. The person who takes the diet pill does not have the same level of commitment to her goal as the person who commits to a new lifestyle of fitness and health. That person is one who is confidently able to say that he or she is prioritizing their morning to include what is most important to them, their health and vitality. The same thing goes for the individual who chooses to start a side business as a means of changing his or her financial status as opposed to taking the path of least resistance, buying lotto tickets every week.

Lasting results come from the path of most resistance. Character building happens when you take the path of most resistance. Take some time today to analyze the actions you have been taking to reach your goals. Have you chosen the path of least or most resistance? Consider your level of apprehension and compare that with the other option(s) you can take to reach your destination. Choose the path of most resistance and make that a part of your new lifestyle. Your results will be your reward.

7/17/2008

Create perfect endings with visualization

Picture by
MizzFortunate




One thing I hate more than anything is a movie ending that's completely different from what I expected. I loathe movies that end in a manner contrary to what I wanted to see. It doesn't matter if the movie was one of the most cleverly directed features ever (i.e. Castaway with Tom Hanks), if the ending is not to my standards, I completely dismiss the entire film as useless.

Even during my younger days, I would become extremely upset if I were ever interrupted from a pleasant dream. Whenever this happened, I would try my darnedest to fall back asleep and create the ending that I wanted. Sometimes I would even try to create alternate endings to dreams that did not meet my expectation of a suitable experience.

Even today, if my present reality isn't as I would hope for, I still use my own mental images to create my definition of a great ending. Without the use visualization, one has to accept the results he or she experiences as the only available outcome. That is so far from the truth. What you or I are now experiencing, is only one version of an outcome. Think of your reality as a movie with various alternate endings. Your job is to go to the special features section and select an alternate ending as another option.

Visualizing is like selecting the bonus features option and viewing the various outcomes of a film. Think about which areas of your life where you would like to create alternate endings. Take some time to formulate those images in your mind in as clear of a picture as possible. Use words to help you focus on the details until you are easily able to create visual pictures of exactly how you want your life to look like.

The main reason why you should even entertain the thought of creating mental images of the life you desire is because your brain can not honestly tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. Your mind operates in pictures and once it sees a clear picture it subconsciously accepts it as fact. Think about the times when you've had dreams so scary that you awoke with a rapid heartbeat and maybe even a little sweat on your brow. Your mind didn't know at that time that the boogie man was not really out to get you. Your mind only did what it knows to do which is take mental images as fact and respond accordingly to the visual images in your mind.


Tonight before you fall asleep, or just after you awaken before you get out of bed in the morning, take a few moments to dream while you are still awake. Create vivid pictures of your definition of the most perfect scenarios and let your mind soar. Let you mind fully believe that you are capable of experiencing what you saw and use your emotions to help motivate you to take consistent action towards creating it.

In a way, you probably do some of this now. The problem with most of us is that we create mental pictures of the worst possible outcome. Today I ask you to use your mental powers for good, not evil, and create the life you've always wanted, both in your mind and in your reality.

7/05/2008

A simple technique for overcoming procrastination

Procrastination is a huge issue for many of us. When we put off the things we should be doing, we often have to contend with nagging voices and a general feeling of guilt for not having done what we know we should have. The ability to overcome procrastination is something we'd all like to have. Whenever I have a daunting task that I'd like to avoid, for whatever reason, I muster up the strength to complete the task by following this simple ritual.

The first thing you have to overcome is the feeling of not wanting to do the task that you've been avoiding. To do this, you can incorporate a simple act of visualization to help get your juices flowing. Before visualizing, you should identify an intention for the activity that you are about to undertake. If the activity is cleaning the bathroom, you can say something like "I intend to have a clean, fresh, comfortable bathroom that I can enjoy with my family." Once you have stated your intention (preferably verbally), you quickly formulate a mental image in your mind of the cleaned bathroom and how great it feels to shower and pamper yourself in that room. Next, you think of yourself moving on to more enjoyable tasks after the bathroom is completely done along with the wonderful feeling of not having to come home to a dirty bathroom.

The entire process should not take more than a few minutes depending on how complex the task you have to complete. What you are doing is basically pumping yourself up to complete the work with loads of energy and determination similar to what a coach does with his football team in the locker room before the game. You psych yourself up for the task and create such a desire to have it done that you can not simply just say that you'll do it later and put it on the back burner. You've already seen it completed in your mind with the best possible outcome. Armed with your new found perspective on the situation, you no longer see the task as a large mountain to climb but as something that can easily be completed with a little bit of effort and determination.

Best of all the simple act of visualizing the event helps you move through the actual tasks much faster. Every great thinker understands the value of visualization and how it helps us to become more efficient. When we experience the steps of what we have to do clearly in our minds, we have less apprehension in doing it again in real life. Visualizing is the difference between typing a paper from a rough draft as opposed to trying to create the ideas for a paper from scratch. Use your mind as a tool to make every task or project easier for you. As this practices becomes a bona fide habit, you no longer dread the thought of having to do something. You've already done it, you now just need to replay the motions in real life. Now get to it!