Winners Versus Losers
By David Lewis
Winners Versus Losers
Copyright 2015 by David Lewis
Please contact the author for written permission to reproduce any portion of this book. All rights are reserved and parts of this book may not be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without his permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
All of the anecdotes included are based on true events. Names, of course, have been changed, and some situations have been combined or slightly fictionalized for clarification and illustration purposes.
Every effort has been made to supply complete and accurate information. Because change occurs quickly and frequently, some information may have changed subsequent to the book’s publication. The information in this book is presented in good faith, but no warranty is given nor results guaranteed. Since we have no control over physical conditions surrounding the application of techniques and information herein contained, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for their use nor liability for their application.
ISBN Number: 978-0-692-43126-9
First Edition: July 2015
Published in North America by DTM Publications
Printed in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to the memory of my father, Harvey Lewis, who over the years gave me the wisdom and encouragement to be the best I could be. His commitment to hard work and perseverance to succeed is the foundation of who I am. In my eyes, he is, and always be, the true definition of a Winner and what I strive to be every day.
Hello, I’m David Lewis and I am so excited that you have decided to join me on this journey. I am going to be your guide as we travel through the land seeking hidden knowledge that will illuminate your path and ultimately help you find the treasures you are looking for. Together we are going to unlock one of the most challenging questions of the human experience: What is it that separates Winners from Losers? What causes some people to experience great success, while others languish in mediocrity or outright failure?
The book you are holding in your hands is a roadmap. It is a personal roadmap that was written just for you. The destination it leads to is up to you and will be different for each person who follows it. In reality, this is a treasure map leading to the dream you have for your life. You may not even know what your dream in life is, or you may have left it somewhere along the path thinking that it was just a foolish idea and never would to come to pass, but don’t let that worry you. As we follow along on your journey, you will rediscover your dream or create a new one that is even better than what you had imagined before.
Like all roadmaps, there are signs you must follow and secret passages you must enter in order to obtain the treasure that awaits you at the end of the journey. Inside each of these secret passages, you will find hidden nuggets of wisdom which other travelers have left behind to share what they learned on their own journey. They have been left in order to nourish us along the way and to encourage and strengthen us for the journey ahead. As you uncover these nuggets, it is well worth your time to stop for a short break and think about them, to decide if you want to gain the hidden wisdom that lies beneath the surface of each one.
Many books have been written about the process of winning and Hollywood movies tell the stories of those who achieved tremendous success in life. Some of them did so against great odds, pressing forward when most would have given up and settled for an easier path. Others seemed born to experience greatness, possessing talents and gifts that were almost certain to propel them into victory, only to suffer failure and defeat in the end.
Is it just a matter of luck or fate that makes one person achieve success over others? Or, are there absolute principles that determine the outcome for those who discover them and apply them to their lives? Is it just a matter of intelligence, talent or personality that will determine whether you will achieve the life you desire? Or, can you tip the balance in your favor by the things you do and the beliefs you have in yourself?
As we study the concepts of Winning and Losing, we will find the answer to these questions and discover principles and actions that can determine the result of someone’s life when they are consistently followed and practiced. If the 20th Century taught us anything, it is that the only limitations to great achievement and success are those we place upon ourselves or allow others to place on us. A close look at the American experience will show us that if we can dream it, we can achieve it. It is a matter of faith, determination and a refusal to not give up in the face of challenge and potential failure that often makes the difference between Winners and Losers.
Along the journey, we will glimpse the thinking processes and habits of those who made their mark in life and see what we can gain from their experience. These can empower you onward into your own goals and dreams if you let them. We will also look at those who tried and failed, so we can glean valuable information from the ashes of their defeat.
Both triumphs and failures have a message that can aid us in our journey of discovery on the road less travelled. Some will reveal treasures of wisdom on the path to victory, while others warn us of the perils of taking life for granted and failing to develop the disciplines and practices that make for great achievement.
Many of these hidden nuggets that you will discover will not be new to some of you, as most of them have been around for centuries. By analyzing them, we can better understand what they have to teach us. Like all precious gems, they have many facets which appear different from other angles. Part of my guidance will be to expand on these, filling in the missing thoughts that can help make the difference more understandable.
Join me as we embark on our study of Winners and Losers and discover how to make your life the great adventure of success and achievement you desire it to be.
WINNERS SAY: If it is to Be, It is Up to Me
LOSERS SAY: It is What it Is
The first person we will meet on our journey is someone many of you will recognize if you have been searching for ideas and secrets to help you attain success. Napoleon Hill came from a small town in the mountains of Southwest Virginia where he was born in a one room cabin. He lost his mother at the young age of nine, and later became a reporter and writer for small mountain town newspapers. Hill eventually used his earnings to enter law school, but soon dropped out due to a lack of finances.
During one of his assignments, Hill was invited to interview Andrew Carnegie, the great industrialist, philanthropist and founder of US Steel Corporation. This was to be the turning point in his life, after which Carnegie introduced him to some of the most successful business people in the world. As a result, he was able to learn their secrets to success and offer them to the world through his writing.
Few have understood and defined the principles of success more forcefully than Napoleon Hill. His book “Think and Grow Rich” is the most widely read book on personal prosperity ever written. Hill penned the words that have guided some of the most successful men and women in our time to great achievement by saying, “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” By the time of his death, in 1970, the book had sold over 20 million copies. It continues to sell to this day and Napoleon Hill is considered one of the great pioneers in the philosophy of achievement and success.
As we begin this journey on the road to success, it is important to realize this one great truth: No one can influence you more in your quest for success than you. It is you who will determine whether you achieve the goals and aspirations you have for your life or whether you will fall short of your dreams and settle for less than you desire. You must come to realize one important truth about success; “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
While on his own journey toward success, Napoleon Hill became a pioneer of a new way of thinking. He recognized that throughout history certain men and women have stood out from the rest of society by how much they believed in themselves and in their dreams, and what they were willing to do to achieve them. He learned and eventually taught that our minds have the power to shape our destiny if we will determine what we want and practice a consistent method of thinking and acting, being guided by our goals and dreams to achieve.
First, it is important to settle something in your heart. Success is good and it is what you are meant to have in this life. You were not created to fail, but neither were you granted the right to a success that you did not earn. Whatever your beliefs are about life, it is certain that the outcome you experience will be determined by how you act on what you believe. And be certain of this one thing: you will act on what you believe. If you truly believe in something you will act on it. This is the evidence that you believe in it.
Winners believe that the outcome of life is determined by how much they put into it and how much they believe in their ability to achieve their goals and aspirations. Losers say that whatever will be is already determined and if they were meant to succeed they will; if they were meant to fail nothing they can do will make a difference when all is said and done.
If you believe your life is predetermined for mediocrity, and failure and you have no intention of giving up on this belief, this book will do you no good and you may as well quit now and not waste your time. But if you believe you can succeed and are determined to do so, stay with me and I will show you how your life can be shaped by the things you choose to believe.
There is no better time than now to start believing in you. We are on this journey of discovery together and let me say right from the start that I believe in you. But what I believe doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in yourself. This is a surefire way to hinder your ability to change and grow and create the defeatist attitude of “it is what it is.”
What Napoleon Hill learned from his experience of meeting Carnegie and other great business leaders, was that whatever your mind can conceive, you can achieve if you truly want to. This first lesson on the road to success will become invaluable as we continue on in search of your goals and dreams.
And always remember, there is no greater force on earth for achieving your goals in life than the power of YOU.
WINNERS: Translate Dreams into Reality
LOSERS: Translate Reality into Dreams
As I have already mentioned, fate does not determine your destiny, but faith does. I’m not talking about your religious beliefs, although they are certainly important. I am talking about the system of beliefs that you hold in your mind. Though you may never have taken the time to assess your beliefs, I assure you everyone has their own belief system, whether they know it or not. It may have been constructed by strong ideas and concepts passed to you from others, but if you act on them they will eventually become your belief system.
Your beliefs are created by the thoughts, ideas and actions you have been exposed to in this life. The things that you see, hear and experience form the basic belief system that you operate from, and that is true for every one of us. This process starts at a very young age, which is when you are most susceptible to what you saw, heard and experienced in life. These are called the formative years because it is during this time that you begin to develop your own opinions and beliefs about life.
Tragically, some people grow up in an environment hostile to positive thinking and belief. If that happens to have been your own experience don’t despair. Anything that is learned can eventually be unlearned by a determined commitment to change and growth. Your mind is like a computer or recording system, and the programs can be erased and replaced by better ones if you are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. Basically, you have to have faith in yourself and believe that you can have a better life than the one you have now or the one that you experienced as a young person.
Someone once defined faith as, “Seeing those things that are not as though they were.” That is a great description of what it means to believe in your dreams. When you can see things that are not already here as though they were here, you can make those things become reality. You have the power to translate your dreams into reality by the things that you believe and act on. This is a primary difference between Winners and Losers.
Winners choose to believe, and their dreams are expectations that have just not come to pass yet. Losers never experience their dreams coming true because they see them as fantasies and not as visions and ideas that can guide them toward what they want to achieve. For Losers, reality consists of what they can see and touch and their lives are determined by the natural world around them. Faith calls you to a place that you cannot see except in your mind and in your heart. However, when you direct your thoughts and energies toward your objective or goal, you will find that you have confidence and a belief that begins to grow in you and encourages you to keep moving forward.
Hollywood visionary Walt Disney was a Winner by anyone’s definition. He once said, “all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” As an expert on dreams and success, I would have to say that he is someone worth listening to. There are a lot of voices that you can choose to hear. It is up to you which voices you listen too. Mr. Disney experienced many challenges and even failures along the road to success, but he overcame them by believing in his dream and his ability to make it become reality.
Winners pursue their dreams and make them come true; they don’t wait for them to come true by themselves. Their attitude is not, ‘Let’s just see what happens.’ Instead they say, ‘Let’s go make that happen.’ What may start out as only a distant vision or idea can become a genuine reality when it is formed in the mind of a Winner. They don’t just assume that it will come to pass, they pursue it with their whole heart and put forth the effort required to make it happen.
How do you view your dreams? Are they something that guides you on the path of life or are they just phantoms that give you a momentary break from the mediocrity of your existence? How you answer that question is what will determine the ultimate value of the dreams you have for your life.
Walt Disney’s life is a treasure chest of faith. His dream has empowered millions of people from every walk of life to believe that their wishes can come true. Though he is gone now, his dream lives on in the movies he created and the theme parks his vision inspired and brought to life around the world. Even more, they live on in the lives of those he influenced as a great visionary in the world of family entertainment.
All of us have the power to influence others just as others can have an influence on us. It is how we use that power that often makes the difference of whether we become Winners or Losers later in life. This is visible from the earliest stages of the human experience. It doesn’t take much time around a group of small children to see that some have a natural tendency to be selfish or to dominate others, while some tend to be more compliant and less aggressive. It is human nature and it is neither good nor bad in most cases.
As we grow, these natural tendencies take on more meaning and become expressions of our personality. Hopefully, the positive behaviors will grow and the negative ones will be reined in so they can be constructive rather than destructive. It is the influence of others and the information and experiences we are exposed to that will determine how these will affect us in our adult life, and what kind of person we will eventually become. Just as every playground has its bullies, so we find that later on in life many people tend to use their influence to intimidate and control those around them.
In my book, “The Leadership Factor,” I wrote about the distinction between Bosses and Leaders. Many don’t often understand the difference, which is that Bosses rely on the force of their personality, position or authority to control those who work under them, while Leaders use these same things to inspire and empower those who work beside them.
Winners are different from Losers in the same way that Leaders and Bosses differ from one another. Winners love to help others succeed and are not threatened by seeing someone excel beyond what they themselves have achieved. They view themselves as teachers and mentors, and they rejoice when those under their Leadership come into their own success. They want them to achieve and view their Leadership role as a guide on their path to success. To Leaders, their success is only truly accomplished when those under their supervision are successful.
Losers can never truly win because they are too fearful of losing. They see their achievements as something to cling to and they protect their station in life by keeping others from reaching the same heights. They don’t offer advice, they give orders. They don’t command respect, they demand it from those who work under them and often view them as a threat to their own authority.
In contrast, Winners recognize that by empowering others, they empower themselves and gain knowledge from what others have to offer. They know that everyone has the spark of creativity in them and a Winner is not afraid to look on the lower steps of the ladder if there is wisdom to be found there. They know that when they reach down to lift someone up, someone else will eventually reach down from a higher place to lift them up. Therefore, they gladly offer assistance and advice to others if it will help them achieve their dreams and goals in life. Truly successful people recognize that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. They open the door for others who are on their own journey and welcome them in to share their experiences and rejoice in their victories.
Losers cannot share their victories with others; instead they put them on display to let others know who is on top and who is in charge. They are not team players and they consider those who work for them merely as resources they can use to empower themselves. They see themselves as above those who work for them and view others as tools to accomplish their job as a boss.
All of us have known Winners and Losers in our life. Maybe we haven’t put a label on them, but we know the difference when we see it. It isn’t what they have achieved that sets them apart; it is how they have achieved it and what they do with it after they have arrived. If the only thing they have is their success, the Loser will cling to it until it isolates and separates them from others.
All of us will meet both Winners and Losers at some point in our life journey. Sometimes we have no choice but to yield to the bosses until we can either influence them to a better way or learn from their behaviors and move on. The Winners who cross our path can be great sources of inspiration and help us as we move forward toward our own goals and dreams. If and when the time comes for us to oversee others, it is important to remember the lessons we learned as we make our way up the ladder.
True success motivates us to do good for others and for those we love. This is another big difference between Winners and Losers. When we empower others to achieve, we show that we understand the true value of success and we eagerly pass it on to those around us.
WINNERS SAY: Let’s Find Out
LOSERS SAY: Nobody Knows
If you are someone who watches a lot of television, you may notice that many of today’s most popular programs have to do with adventures and discoveries of things and places that are unusual or uncommon. As humans, we love to see what lies beyond the next horizon and find what has yet to be discovered. It is that drive for knowledge and discovery that inspired men like Ferdinand Magellan, Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus to leave the comforts of their own world and seek fame and fortune in far off lands. It drove Sir Edmund Hillary to conquer Mt. Everest and Neil Armstrong to be the first man to set foot on the Moon.
Winners are not content with the life that just happens because they open their eyes every morning. They chase after meaning and purpose with gusto and they cannot be satisfied until they have stretched themselves beyond what they did yesterday in their quest for success. They have a deep desire to improve themselves and their lot in life, and they are willing to take whatever risk is required or seek the knowledge and strength that can help them achieve their goals and dreams.
Becoming a Winner is not going to happen just because you want a better life. It takes a commitment to a different way of thinking and a different way of being. Just as it took certain information, actions and examples to create who you are right now, you can become someone totally different by changing your beliefs and acting on new ones. As several philosophers from ages past have put it, “You are what you eat.” Whatever you allow to enter your mind, your will and your emotions will ultimately determine who you are and what you achieve in life.
From the Loser’s point of view, if it was meant to be known, we would already know it. “Maybe we aren’t supposed to be so anxious about life,” they say. “People should just learn to accept who and what they are and be satisfied with that.”
Losers accept the status quo and see no reason to buck the system or push the envelope. They believe that only special people can do those things and the rest of us should just stay where we are and do what we already do. “After all,” they say, “nobody really knows whether you can really be successful or not, so why take a chance and risk what you already have?”
Winners don’t accept things as they are. They choose to push and push until they see what’s on the other side of the door. They know that anything worth having is worth the effort it takes to get it, and they are willing to take a leap of faith in order to attain success. Winners don’t view their efforts as just a way to try new things, but as steps toward reaching the larger goal of achieving their ultimate dream in life.
For Winners, what happened in the past doesn’t matter as much as what happens now and what the results will be for their future. They don’t look behind them except to see what mistakes to avoid and how far they have already come. They are focused on what lies ahead and have a clear view of the finish line at all times. They know that the actions they take today are what will make their dreams for tomorrow become reality.
Losers see things differently. They are willing to risk little because they are not certain of what they really want and not sure that if they got it, it would be worth the risk. They have accepted the fact that they may not accomplish what they would like and so they make mental excuses for accepting failure as the result of something over which they had no control. They may talk about the dreams and ambitions they have or once had, but inside they depend upon fate to deliver success if they are ever going to have it.
To a Loser, life is a throw of the dice; a game of chance rather than a calculated risk or the result of time spent and investments made in pursuit of their goals. Losers spend what they have now so they don’t miss the opportunity of the moment. Winners do just the opposite. They invest what they have gained and expand their abilities to obtain more knowledge and to develop more personal growth. They are not content to watch the game of life from the sidelines. They love the pursuit of success and the thrill of victory that comes to those who seek it with all of their heart.
Never forget that winning is a choice and so is losing. Ultimately, you decide which way your life will go by the actions you take or the ones you fail to take. Don’t be afraid to face the challenges that life delivers or be reluctant to experience the victories that others consider not worth the risk.
WINNERS: Are Part of the Solution
LOSERS: Are Part of the Problem
Now that we have begun our journey toward success, I want to remind you that real Winners are grateful for the opportunities they have and the blessings they receive. To them winning is a necessary part of their life and they see what they do as a part of something bigger than themselves. Winners are problem solvers and they see the big picture; not only for themselves, but how their success will benefit others as well. There are always those who criticize highly successful people, but that is often part of the price of a big vision and high achievement.
Where would the world be today without the great visionaries of the Industrial Revolution who brought America into the modern age? The commitment and dedication it took to build the automobile industry, modern transportation systems and the power and communication grids that crisscross and connect the nation were all started by a handful of men who dared to dream. Consider the millions of jobs they created and the other industries and companies that sprung from their roots to support and grow the greatest nation the world has ever known. Those things didn’t just happen by fate or accident. They came to life through the efforts and sacrifices of possibility thinkers, men and women who saw the future and were willing to risk everything to advance themselves and the world around them and push the envelope of knowledge and creativity.
Winning is a mindset that considers all reasonable possibilities and options that could lead to a successful conclusion. Winners don’t focus on the problem. They glance at the problem, but are fixed on the solution, and that is where they commit the best of their efforts and their resources. They view problems as things to overcome rather than something to avoid.
Winners believe there is an inner power that makes them who they are. Losers focus on the negative and winners on the positive. Winners are the ones who listen to their heart and go for their dreams.
Does that mean you are born a winner or a loser? Absolutely not! Just like an athlete builds his or her outer strength to compete for the prize, winners also build their inner power to conquer the challenges they will face with the determination required to accomplish their goals. No one becomes a champion overnight and neither does great success happen all at once. It is earned by the everyday commitment to do the right thing every time the opportunity or need arises.
Because Losers don’t carry their weight, they make it harder for those who do. If they are on a team, they reduce the effectiveness of that team by the amount of work they fail to do. Because of their unwillingness to do their part, other team members must give more to accomplish the goal or overcome the challenge that confronts them. Losers often create negative energy with their words and attitudes. They reinforce the doubt that they feel with words that can pierce the heart and infect others with their poison. Their negativity can quench the fires of enthusiasm and water down the effectiveness of those who hear them. Those who are new to their quest for success must learn to avoid these types of people or they may adapt their attitudes and fall for the negative message they preach so adamantly.
Winners are thankful for every opportunity they have to move the ball forward. They don’t despise the day of small beginnings, because they understand that every giant tree started from a seed that fell on fertile ground. They know that a journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step and they fearlessly take that step and begin the journey. They encourage others by their inspiring faith. Those who become Winners in life appreciate the part that others play and they are eager to help those who need a hand along the road to their own success. They don’t rain on another person’s parade; they stand on the sidelines cheering them along and celebrating the things they have accomplished.
Thomas Paine, an early American journalist and proponent for the founding of America, had good advice for those who have any part to play in efforts that involve others. He said, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” That was good advice when America needed solid direction, and it is still good for those who want to make their mark in the world today. Paine’s writings were influential in inspiring the Colonists to proclaim Independence from Great Britain, and he was adamant about the rights of men to live in freedom and pursue their own goals in life.
As we travel on in our journey to the top, we will see that success, like freedom, is a right that each of us have and not a privilege only given to a select few. Like freedom, success comes at a price and is often won only after great battles, by enduring the struggles and challenges that stand in our way and attempt to turn us away from the path that leads to victory.
WINNERS: Are Not Afraid of Losing
LOSERS: Are Afraid of Winning
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Some of the greatest ideas and inventions of men have failed to be realized because of fear. Those who wish to become Winners in life can never do so until they overcome the fears that are holding them in check. Fear is the greatest de-motivator known to man and, just as Mrs. Roosevelt suggested, the best way to conquer it is to do the exact thing it is telling you not to do.
Someone once described fear with the acronym F.E.A.R. which stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” No doubt when someone is in the grip of fear it can seem as real as real can be. But fear is merely an illusion that stems from our emotions, or a defensive mechanism that warns us of impending danger.
It may be that our First Lady’s quote was inspired by something her husband said when he announced America’s entry into the Second World War after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His words contained a powerful truth that everyone hoping to win in life needs to remember: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” President Roosevelt surely knew about overcoming the challenges that fear presents, having stood against it throughout his entire presidency while commanding the leadership of the free world from a wheelchair.
Winners learn to face their fears and use them as fuel to propel them forward in the battles they are facing. They are not afraid of losing. They know that success is ultimately the result of a life that has experienced both loss and victory along the way. In fact, great leaders will tell you that you cannot truly appreciate winning until you have experienced the anguish and upset of losing.
Losers are just the opposite of this. They fear winning because they know that with winning comes the responsibility of success. They know that once you have gained a foothold in achievement you then have to manage your success, and Losers don’t want to commit to the responsibilities that usually accompany winning.
True champions relish the thought of success knowing that it will empower them to reach higher and accomplish even more to benefit themselves and those around them. They gladly accept the responsibilities of winning and they want to be an example for others who desire to achieve great things in their own life.
Let me also say that by winning and success I am not referring solely to the obtaining of financial riches. There are plenty of Winners who have achieved great success without riches; and there is no lack of Losers who have accumulated great financial wealth, but are still Losers. It is not what you have that makes you a Winner or Loser; it is who you are and what you do with the resources and talents you have been given in life. This is what defines a true Winner.
Many of life’s greatest achievers came from backgrounds or circumstances that offered little chance for success. Yet they carved out a niche for themselves by their courage and the determination to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way of their dreams and aspirations for success. At the same time, many who had great opportunities placed at their feet failed to achieve anything substantial in life because fear held them back from everything they could have done if they would have had the courage to try.
What fears must you face if you are to climb over the next obstacle that blocks your way? Can you look behind you and see opportunities that eluded you because you lacked the courage to face the possibility of failure? Was the fear real or just a phantom of your imagination that robbed you of a victory that could have and should have been yours? What did you learn from those experiences that can now empower you to meet the challenges you face head on and overcome them?
Winners fall down just like everyone else does. They suffer the same cuts and bruises all runners suffer, but they don’t stop to sing the blues about what they could have done, or tell tales about the giants they almost conquered along the way. They rise up and quickly get back into the race, aware of the pain, but focusing only on the goal ahead that beckons them to continue on.
The way you view the fears that challenge you in this life will determine whether you will succeed in reaching your goals or fail to achieve them. Just remember, you were made for success and “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Take courage from those heroes who came before you, and faced great challenges, but ultimately won the battles they chose to fight.
WINNERS: Work Harder than Losers
LOSERS: Are Always Busy
As you can see we have already faced some obstacles that had to be overcome before we could go onto the next leg of our journey. Everyone on this road will experience moments of great effort where they struggle to make it to the next level. Then there are periods of rest and calm where they soon forget the difficulties and gain strength for what lies ahead.
Even great eagles must first exert a strong effort to rise to where the warm thermal air will keep them aloft. But they know that once they get where they are going an occasional flap of the wings will keep them soaring for hours high above the world below. They may face strong turbulence and resistance that requires hard work to reach their destination, but just above the battle zone the weather is fine and they can see all things more clearly. The busy work of flapping is what it took to reach the goal that awaited them high above the clouds.
But being busy and working are not always the same thing. Work is something that has a goal and an end in view. Being busy often represents activity, but does not necessarily accomplish anything worthwhile. Without a clear vision, you can be busy all day and accomplish little. But you can accomplish a lot with minimal effort if you know what you are doing and have a clear goal in mind before you start flapping your wings.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had this to say about hard work and success: “I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.“
Those are powerful words of wisdom from someone who rose from a common background to become the first female Prime Minister of England and one of the greatest leaders of the free world in modern times. She worked hard to get where she was, and once she was at the top she worked even harder to advance the people she was elected to serve.
Winners are not afraid to work hard. In fact, they love their work. Most highly successful people will tell you that they love the work they do as much as they love the benefits their success has given them. Ask anyone who has lost the ability to work and they will tell you of the value that work once added to their life. It is the quality of the effort given that adds dignity and satisfaction to those who are willing to pay the price for success.
On the other hand, Losers may expend a lot of energy and appear to be extremely busy, but they never accomplish the things that would make them highly successful. They are usually the last ones to show up on the job and the first ones to leave. While they are there they can make everyone think they are doing more than anyone else. Like the tiny birds that scurry to and fro just above ground level, they are frantically active, but never attain the growth and strength that will allow them to rise to where the eagles fly.
Hard work that is done toward a definite goal and purpose produces measurable results, while busyness often produces only sweat. Successful people are willing to work hard because they expect to receive a reward for their efforts. As humans we are driven by incentive and it is a natural part of who we are. When you put forth a good effort you expect a reward, and you should be rewarded if your work is good. But work for the sake of work is like pouring water into the ocean. It adds nothing worthwhile to anything and it is ultimately seen for what it is: an effort in futility. Losers often mimic real work with busyness just to avoid the stigma of having no real direction in life.
Highly successful people are often criticized for not getting their hands dirty or for having special privileges that made it easier for them to succeed. But track the history of most high achievers and you will usually uncover a well-worn path revealing a life of dedication, commitment and hard work. They haven’t taken the time to sit around and shoot the breeze about what they were going to do; they were too busy doing it. Like Mrs. Thatcher, they did their homework first and were well aware of what it would take to reach their goals; they weren’t about to waste their time chatting about the weather. Instead, they were checking the wind direction to see how to set the sails for their next destination.
So, dream big and work hard and the end result will be something worthy of the work you have done. Don’t get caught up in a flurry of activities that are not going to take you where you want to go. Once you reach the high winds you can then take a break and enjoy the view, and you will certainly have earned the right to do so.
WINNERS SAY: I Was Wrong
LOSERS SAY: It Was Not My Fault
There is a term that is often used by gangsters when speaking of someone who won’t take the blame for their mistakes and instead, passes it on to someone else. It’s known as shifting the heat. It’s what someone does when they don’t keep their end of the deal and make it seem like someone else was to blame.
Well you don’t have to join the Mafia to find that kind of behavior in the normal world. It is commonly practiced by those who don’t take responsibility for their actions, and it is something that marks a loser and distinguishes them from the real Winners in life. Winners are not afraid to say they were wrong when they have made a mistake. Losers make a habit out of saying, “It was not my fault.”
Everybody makes mistakes and Winners know that some of the best lessons in life are gleaned from the things that didn’t go the way they expected. Making a mistake is human. Failing to take responsibility for your actions is how Losers deal with their mistakes. Adapting this conduct may start early in someone’s life and unless they correct the behavior, it becomes easier and easier to blame others until soon it is just the way they deal with their own failures.
Taking responsibility for our actions is only part of the process of winning. Being responsible for our attitudes is equally as important. John Maxwell is an acclaimed author of over 50 books on leadership and has much to say about personal responsibility. Speaking on the topic he writes, “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” Maxwell goes on to say, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them and strong enough to correct them.”
Winners are not afraid of their mistakes because they learn so much from them. Thomas Edison, after experiencing 10,000 failures in his quest to invent the electric light bulb said of his supposed failures, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That’s how Winners see their mistakes, as opportunities to get it right the next time. Like Edison, Winners see defeat as a revealer of weaknesses or flaws that need to be corrected. Each mistake they experience is just another step on the road to victory. They welcome any opportunity to learn and improve their chances for success, even when it comes as a failure or a defeat. They don’t see obstacles as stop signs, but rather as temporary detours that eventually show them a better way to reach their destination.
For Losers, passing the buck is a behavior they rely on to cover their mistakes. They do that because they don’t value the power that learning from them can bring. Losers show their arrogance when they are too proud to admit failure and defeat, not realizing that each time they do, they diminish the value of any victory they might have gotten when they finally succeeded. Instead of learning from their mistakes, they cover them up and make excuses for why things didn’t go right.
Sweeping things under the rug can often lead to our downfall. Mistakes are like the breadcrumbs dropped along the path. At first, they may seem to have little or no value for our journey. If we find that we have lost our way, it is those very same breadcrumbs that can lead us back to the place where we were so we can get a better understanding of where we lost our direction and made the wrong turn. On any journey into the unknown, knowing where not to go can be as valuable as knowing where to go. Knowing which turn will take us in the wrong direction can help to eliminate wasted efforts and help us find the right path to follow.
As Winners, we must value our mistakes as treasured possessions. They are reminders of our own potential for failure, that is, if we do not heed what can be learned from them.
Unlike Losers, Winners see the value of every effort that is given as an attempt to achieve their goal. Recognizing a mistake eliminates the need for trying that same thing again, and that means taking personal responsibility for your actions and attitudes. ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’ That is the mantra of a Winner, and those who see things this way, will find the pathway to success opening up before them and making a way for their dreams to become reality.
WINNERS: Want To
LOSERS: Have To
Winners are often accused of being driven, when in fact their success is usually the result of obedience to a vision that is drawing them on. When I first started David Lewis & Associates in 1986, I was responding to what I saw as gross errors that were being taught and a desire to change them. Everywhere I looked it was business as usual and most companies were just doing things the way they had always been doing them because “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
I didn’t have to do what I did, but I had a vision for improving the system and creating a path for my own success at the same time. I could have stayed where I was and earned a great living in sales. But I wanted something more and I knew that the vision I had would be worth the effort and sacrifice it would take to see it come to pass. Since then, I have been greatly rewarded with the success that comes from following my dream and I am still very excited about what lies ahead for me and my associates who work alongside me.
I spend most of my time travelling across North America visiting companies or holding training seminars and conferences. I am blessed with a growing group of clients who see the value of what I teach and are eager to learn a new and better way to do business. I share what I have learned with those who seek my advice and experience, and I learn from them things that will advance my abilities to help those who come to me for training and consultation. I love my work and I appreciate all the challenges I have had along the way that have helped make my dream become a reality.
One of the great benefits of my work are the chances I get to meet other Winners and those who want to achieve great success in their own careers. Winners don’t do what they do because they have to. They do it because they want to and they know that what they are trying to accomplish is worth the effort and time that it will take to achieve success. They see their life as a calling to something that lies ahead of them, not as something driving from behind like some unknown force.
Losers are never satisfied and they do what they do because they have to. To them, work is a burden rather than a joy, and those who do eventually reach a pinnacle point in their career can’t enjoy it because their road to success has been filled with great regret or disappointment. They may be driven by a need to compete and they strive to reach the finish line only to realize that they spent their whole life never having experienced the real joy or fulfillment that should come with their success.
You see, Winners love life and they fully enjoy the pleasures they experience and the people they meet along the way. They celebrate their success rather than gloat over it. They don’t do what they do to prove something to others. They do it as an expression of the gifts and talents they have been fortunate enough to receive, and the passion that they have for things that give meaning to their life.
For losers, life can be an endless grind of frustration and disappointment; a blind pursuit of something they never achieve as they run from one thing to another seeking to find the fulfillment that somehow eludes them. If they are not happy where they are, they will go somewhere else always looking for a place where the grass is greener, but rarely ever finding it. They are driven to find something that they hope will eventually come, but soon become addicted to the race and any victory they do experience is as meaningless as if they had never achieved it.
Look at your life and ask yourself this question: Am I doing what I want to do or just doing what I think I have to do to become successful? When you can answer that honestly and openly you are well on your way to discovering what it takes to become a winner in this life. Winning is not about getting or possessing things, it is the recognition that all things are there to enjoy for those who will take the time to find them and make the effort to become successful. Yes, the quest for success is a great adventure and it should demand our best efforts. But, like John D. Rockefeller once said, “I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money’s sake.”
Take the time to smell the roses and renew your vision on a regular basis. There are few things less worthy of our time and effort than achieving an empty dream that leaves us wondering why we worked for it in the first place.
WINNERS: Always Make Time
LOSERS: Often Waste Time
If anyone understood the value of time it was Benjamin Franklin. All of the discoveries and inventions he made are too numerous to mention in this short chapter, but suffice it to say, he was one of the most successful and ingenious men of history. Whether he was flying a kite to understand what lightning was, building his Franklin stove, inventing swim fins or creating bi-focal lens to make reading more accessible to people, he was an endless flow of energy all devoted to the benefit of his fellow man.
Franklin planned his work and worked his plans, and in the end, he left a legacy of creativity that stands as a testament to hard work and ingenuity. He was always ready to pursue the next thing that caught his interest and would make time available to do it if he thought it was worth the effort.
The secret to success is all about planning and setting clear goals for what you want to accomplish in life. Sometimes you have to plan your day complete with interruptions. If you are fixed only on the situation of the moment, you may miss a greater opportunity that could be right there waiting to be discovered. Winners know how to focus, while at the same time keeping their eye out for the next potential opportunity that could make a difference in their life and career. They are schedule oriented people and they treat time as a valuable commodity not to be wasted.
That doesn’t mean they can’t shoot from the hip or be spontaneous when necessary. It just means they make the best use of the time they have set aside for doing something, even if that something is taking time off for rest and recuperation. By scheduling and planning their life for maximum efficiency, they find that this does not make their work more rigid, but in fact, it allows for more flexibility when they need to divert their attention to something that needs to be done right now.
Losers often waste time on unnecessary distractions as if they had an unlimited supply of it to go around. They don’t like rigid schedules or deadlines, thinking that they may interrupt their free flowing life. They are often unaware that their irresponsible approach to time management often limits their potential for promotions or other opportunities that could advance their career to the next level.
Procrastination is a common trait with Losers and they don’t like anyone or anything to put pressure on them until it is absolutely necessary. If things work out on schedule that’s great; If not, they think, “Oh well, I can take care of that later.”
Winners create more time for themselves by the efficiency with which they do their work. They order things by priority and rarely put off for tomorrow the things they can do today. They know that if things pile up, they can fall through the cracks and never get done, so they don’t let that happen if at all possible. At the same time, Winners recognize that life doesn’t always fit perfectly into the schedules we make for it. However, the more efficiently we plan and schedule the things that we must do to succeed, the better prepared we will be to handle the little diversions that occasionally pop up demanding our time and attention.
Successful people are not strictly nine to five oriented. If they need to make time in order to finish something that is pressing, they don’t hesitate to do what is needed. They don’t see their work as a job that they commit so many hours a week to, but rather as a step on their ladder of success. For that reason successful people know that setting long term goals is useless unless they have clearly defined steps that may need to be tweaked and adjusted if they are to reach the desired end they want to achieve.
Winners know that the sooner they get on any task, the sooner it will be accomplished. They are methodical and organized, while Losers usually have a haphazard and careless approach to their work. If there is a better way to do things a Winner will take the time to find out what it is. On the other hand, Losers tend to do the things the way they always have done them and have no problem settling for mediocre results if they can get by on them.
Winners always make time work for them and by doing so, they have more time to do the things they want to do and enjoy the kind of life that makes their work rewarding and worthwhile.
WINNERS: Make Commitments
LOSERS: Make Promises
Most of us think of a promise as being the same as a commitment when we make a pledge to do something. But, there is an important distinction between the two that can often be the determining factor between success and failure of a goal. To most people, a promise is something they make to someone that they will follow through on if possible. A commitment is taking it a step further, saying that no matter what happens, I will keep my pledge. If I am knocked down, I will get up and keep getting up until I have accomplished the task I set out to do.
The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines commitment as “a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or a promise or firm decision to do something.” In that same dictionary, the word promise is defined as, “to state to someone that you will certainly do something.” One carries the firm decision to hold the course regardless of what stands in the way, while the other is more like an intention to do something if at all possible.
It’s sad to say, but today promises and commitments are easily given and often forgotten in the same way. A willingness to commit to something and follow through to the finish is one of the foundational principles of a winner. They don’t make commitments loosely and they don’t like it when someone fails to keep a commitment made to them.
In today’s world, making a promise is often no more than a statement made to end a conversation quickly and get on to the next item on the agenda. There was a time when a handshake or promise was a most precious thing and not something to be given or taken lightly. Whole industries were once started with a handshake or promise, and those who gave them lightly were considered foolish and not to be trusted.
Losers give their word easily, but often have no intention of keeping it if it isn’t convenient to do so. That is not something that Winners can comprehend. Winners would rather not say anything than to make a commitment they can’t keep. If something comes up that makes it impossible to follow through on their original plan, they will always try to find some way to keep an agreement or commitment they have made.
Norman Vincent Peale had some very interesting words about promises. He said, “they are like crying babies in a theatre and they should be carried out at once.” That is how a Winner looks at the things he or she commits to. Don’t wait or hesitate, but follow through as soon as possible whenever you can. That is the best way to prove that your promises are commitment.
The early twentieth Century industrial giant Andrew Carnegie, had this to say about Winners and what he considered to be the key element to making a commitment that creates great results: “I believe the true road to preeminent success in any line is to make yourself a master in that line. I have no faith in the policy of scattering one’s resources, and in my experience I have rarely, if ever, met a man who achieved preeminence in money making ― certainly never one in manufacturing ― who was interested in many concerns.”
So, from Carnegie’s experience and perspective, keeping your focus narrow and not being multi-directional is a critical part of great success. This makes sense if you consider what it takes to manage the results of a successful enterprise. In other words, once your goal is up and running, you have to keep it running, and that may take a lifetime if you really have something that is successful. There is a lot to be said about what it takes to invest your life in a single direction and staying focused until it begins to take on a life of its own.
Losers depend upon others to keep their commitments and will often blame their own failures on the failure of others to keep their word. They say, “If that person would have kept up their part, I would have done what I said I would do.” They see nothing wrong with giving their promises lightly, but expecting others to be bound to the ones they make.
A Winner doesn’t depend upon what others do to keep commitments they have made. If someone fails to do their part they will find another way to fulfill their commitment without them when possible. If it becomes impossible, they will quickly let everyone involved know that they must find another way so that they can follow through to achieve the desired result.
Keeping your commitments is a foundational principle of good character and trustworthiness. Being a Winner isn’t just about accomplishing great things. It is the nature of someone who values their own integrity. When you understand that both promises and commitments have the same value, you have comprehended the value being a Winner represents.
WINNERS SAY: I’ll Plan To Do That
LOSERS SAY: I’ll Try To Do That
I hope that you are paying close attention to the nuggets we are finding as we journey along the path toward your success. Taking time to focus and meditate on these can make a big difference in how effective you are in reaching your goal. These are not just random ideas that someone came up with after having a beer or glass of wine. Each of them represent the personal experiences of that person and eventually became a part of how they understood the resources and practices that made them successful. I highly recommend that you write them down and keep a journal for future reference.
Journaling and meditating on these principles faithfully can become a sign of your commitment to the understanding they give you. They will strengthen you when you are experiencing challenges or battles and need encouragement to keep you going. This is one reason why I like to see people taking notes when they attend my training classes and seminars. People who keep good notes are more likely to follow through on the things that need to be done and more likely to revisit those notes when they take the time to study and meditate on what they are learning.
Another great benefit of note keeping and journaling is the value these practices offer for keeping a record of the commitments you make to yourself and others. This can be especially important if they involve discussions that have contractual potential. It is easy to forget things when you are on a roll, have a lot of ideas or are brainstorming with others about things that you are planning to accomplish. These can also be invaluable when you are formulating any plans that will be essential to fulfilling your goals and commitments.
The words I’ll plan and I’ll try may seem to have the same implications, but they in fact represent a strong difference between Winners and Losers. Planning is an important part of how a Winner thinks and works toward reaching the goals they have. If a Winner says they will plan on doing something, it is because they mean to make it a commitment and they fully plan to keep it. That is sometimes easier said than done. Call it Murphy’s Law or just the nature of how things go, but when someone makes a serious commitment to a goal or a task, something may mysteriously occur that tries to stop or divert them to another path. Most people who have experienced great success have similar stories to tell about the things that stood in their way and had to be overcome in order to win the day.
A Loser saying I’ll try is an indication that if something else comes up they may or may not be able to do it. They don’t want to lock themselves into something they may not feel like doing when the time comes, or to a promise that they may not want to keep later on. Everything is up in the air until they decide whether or not it is really important to them. Sometimes “I’ll try” is just another way of saying no or probably not.
Winners take their time seriously and they value the time of others in the same way. They know that to not do so is disrespectful, and they understand that if you want respect from others you have to give respect as well. Being a Winner or Loser is not determined by how you handle your work and career alone. It is a part of who you are and how you feel about quality and integrity. People who are nonchalant about their work ethic will usually have the same attitudes and habits in every other area of their life as well.
Perception is reality in today’s world. Being a Winner or Loser is a choice that is made by the things we do in every circumstance of life. By practicing the things that make for being a Winner, we can become one, and transform not only our own lives, but the perception that people have of us and how willing they are to trust us with the important things in life.
WINNERS SAY: I’m Good, But Not as Good as I Can Be
LOSERS SAY: I’m Not as Bad as Other People
Of all things that are critical for the realization of true success, there is nothing more important than personal development. If life teaches us anything, it is that there is always room for improvement. Regardless of how good you are at something you can always get better. High achievers understand this and they rarely take their success for granted.
Winners never stop growing and are always looking for the next opportunity or resource to improve their skills and abilities. They know they are good at what they do, but they are always eager to find the next challenge to overcome or the next milestone to reach. They are the first ones to find areas where they can broaden their scope, and the last to boast about how much they have already achieved. They don’t look to the crowd or the competition to set their goals and aspirations for them; they set their own goals and view themselves as their strongest competitor. When they have reached one peak they set their sights on the next level they want to achieve and make preparations for what it will take to get there.
Losers compare themselves to others and base their success on whether or not others have performed on a lesser scale. They don’t care if they do their best as long as they feel they have done better than someone else. Just above mediocrity is the mark that they shoot for and they don’t mind telling you how hard they worked to get there. They convince themselves that others have had an easier path than they have so it’s no wonder they are able to achieve so much. They see themselves as victims and take advantage of any opportunity to let others know how hard their life was compared to most people.
Ernest Hemingway summed the value of personal growth and self improvement in the following very powerful statement: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
That is the mark of a true Winner. They are not in a contest to be better than someone else. Their goal is to be better than they themselves already are and to reach higher and achieve more in order to experience all that life has to offer. They don’t blame others for their lack, nor depend upon anyone else to take them to the place they ultimately want to be in life. That doesn’t mean they don’t look to others for wisdom and guidance. But it does mean that whatever they learn to help them along the way is up to them to apply to their lives, as well as act on the principles or lessons they can gain from others.
Winners are motivated about continuing toward a higher goal. Professional sports coaches have a lot to say about this aspect of being a Winner. They believe that winning doesn’t stop with their last achievement. That they must continue to press on to become better and better than they were the day before. Everybody wants to win, but a champion knows that losing is not an option.
One of the secrets to Winning is to live in the present. True Winners don’t focus on the past, and they don’t just live in the dreams of the future. They know that what they do today is what will make the future they want become real or be just a pipe dream that they never achieve. They see the future as something to aim at and to capture as a result of what they do today. By growing and changing to become even better they make that future become a reality in their life.
In today’s world, there is a vast wealth of resources available for anyone who truly desires to experience personal grow in their life. Information abounds on any topic and there are experts on nearly every topic who have proven what they teach and are willing to share it with those who truly want to become winners.
Remember, there is one thing that Losers excel at, and that is the status quo. You need to have a vision and goals to break free from that life and mindset. If you don’t find them, you will always settle for second best or even less. You can’t look around you to find what you should reach for in life, you must look ahead. Winners are always looking ahead for the next challenge while losers are content to see what others are doing and measuring their own success by comparing it to that of others.
While losers are busy keeping up with the crowd, Winners are leaving the crowd behind and trying to catch those who can be seen in the distance up ahead of them. Be a Winner and set your sights on what is ahead of you, not what lies behind you.
WINNERS: Listen to What Others Say
LOSERS: Never Stop Talking
You will never become a real Winner in life if you are too proud to learn from others. Great champions talk about the value of learning from those who have left a path for others to follow. That starts with recognizing the value of what others have to say and being a good enough listener to learn from those who are willing to share their wisdom and experience. Learning from the experience of others is like a booster rocket for reaching success. Only the prideful person thinks that their way is the only way and that others have nothing to teach them. Highly successful people usually have someone who pointed the way and inspired and encouraged them to reach higher.
Losers never stop talking long enough to hear what others have to say. Albert Einstein knew something about this and he had a formula for it. He said, “If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y plus Z, with X being work, Y being play, and Z being. . . keeping your mouth shut.” That doesn’t mean there isn’t a time for talking. But God gave us two ears and only one mouth. He might be trying to tell us something.
Success expert Zig Ziglar said, “You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.” Ziglar knew that there is much to be learned from others and in most cases the only thing that stands in the way is pride. He was renowned for his conventional wisdom and he understood that the person who thinks others have nothing to say, usually ends up becoming someone to whom others pay no heed.
Winners know that in order to get ahead in life, they must learn things that they don’t already know. Sometimes the easiest way to gain that knowledge is by listening to others who have something to say about it. Since it is very hard to talk and listen at the same time, the best way to do that is to be a good listener. Talking often gets in the way when you really want to learn something. People who never stop talking don’t leave any space to listen to others. They are so busy listening to themselves that they can’t even hear what others have to say who might know what they are talking about. Successful people know that listening only to yourself is a sure way to guarantee that you won’t learn anything new.
You may recall the famous E.F. Hutton commercials that emphasized the value of listening to successful people. The phrase “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen” was a tremendous success from a marketing perspective. The commercials were certainly something of a novelty and garnered many accolades within the investment community, but they were in fact, based on the real success of the brokerage firm that bore the namesake of their founders Edward and Franklyn Hutton. And they were true to the fact that the two brothers had something worth saying that a lot of people learned and profited from in the stock market.
You don’t have to be famous to be someone worth listening to. Winners learn from others regardless of where they are to be found. Wisdom can sometimes be heard in the quiet places away from the roar of the crowd and really successful people are not too proud to acknowledge it wherever they can find it. People who find it necessary to talk all the time often wear out the patience of others. Like the boy who cried wolf, when they do finally have something worth saying others are already tired of listening.
In sales, the easiest way to lose your Customers is for you to do all the talking. Salespeople who listen to their Customers are much more successful and they certainly have a better chance of developing a loyal business relationship with them. The real pros know that selling and telling are two different things. Great Salespeople want to know what the Customer has to say because they know that is the best way to earn their business and keep them coming back for more.
Winning is an art form that often involves the influence of others. No matter how good you are at what you do you can always benefit by keeping your ear to the ground. It is good to value the things that others have to say, even about the things that you are considered to be an expert in. Life is like music and sometimes we need the sound of the other instruments to make the soloist stand out when we want them to shine.
WINNERS: Catch Others Doing the Right Things
LOSERS: Catch Others Doing the Wrong Things
The motives that drive us are often the best identifiers of what kind of people we really are. Those who spend their time trying to find fault with others rarely have the joy of knowing what it means to be a Winner. They are the Losers in life because they only see the bad in people and look for ways to catch others doing the wrong things. No one likes to be constantly criticized and those who make a habit of doing that to others can be sure they are not appreciated for it.
Winners are quick to point out the successes of others and they celebrate with them when they do the right thing. They don’t want others to fail and they encourage them whenever they get the chance. They know that if they encourage others they promote a positive environment which also affects their own ability to win. Winners know how being encouraged and supported by others makes them feel, so they love to make others feel that way whenever they can. That doesn’t mean they overlook mistakes just to avoid being critical, but they prefer helping someone correct their errors or mistakes without being negative or condescending.
There is an ancient proverb that says, “Wounds made by a friend are intended to help, but an enemy’s kisses are too much to bear.” That is something worth remembering if you feel the need to help someone who is in error. Make sure the relationship comes before the rules. That way you don’t lose a friend in the process.
It is easy to find something to be critical about. Losers look for it wherever it is and use that tactic to keep others from rising above them. They know that the power of negative criticism can discourage people, and some even use it maliciously to hurt or destroy the dreams and ambitions of others. This type of behavior and attitude can become a habit and soon Losers may find themselves being negative and critical of every little thing that happens.
Some people work so hard at finding fault in others, that you would think there was a reward for doing it. That is the last thing Winners want to do. If they catch someone doing something the wrong way they try to help correct their approach or show them a better way, all the while encouraging them for their efforts. They know that making mistakes is human and everyone does it, and that many of our best victories come by learning from our mistakes.
Losers hide their mistakes and blame others for them whenever they can. They can see the things that others do poorly or improperly, but want to make sure no one sees those same things when they do them. If they do get caught in a mistake they will quickly give an excuse or even deny that they had anything to do with it. In worse case scenarios, they may even place the blame on someone else to protect themselves from being criticized.
Winners don’t make a lot of space for losers in their life. They know how quickly they can bring the negative into everything and they avoid them whenever possible.
It isn’t so popular in this generation, but when I was growing up you could get in trouble with your parents or other people in authority for being a tattletale. If you were constantly exposing the poor or wrong behavior of others you might find yourself being corrected or even punished for doing so. There is something to be said about that and we should not completely lose sight of traditional values like these. However, that doesn’t mean we should just let everyone get away with doing the wrong things. It is important to make sure we are more excited about catching others doing the right thing instead of policing everyone around us, trying to find fault.
Sometimes people really don’t know what to do and they need a little help every now and then to get pointed in the right direction. Just make sure that if you are offering it, you do so in a way that is meant to help and not criticize. If you do find yourself needing to correct someone when they are wrong, make sure you applaud them when they are right with the same enthusiasm.
You see, Winners aren’t afraid of mistakes, theirs or someone else’s. They see them as windows into change that will make a difference over time. They make a note of them, dissect them to see what they can learn and move on to the next step that can lead them forward in their quest for success.
WINNERS: Learn From Others
LOSERS: Resent Their Colleagues
An ancient Greek philosopher once wrote, “From the errors of others a wise man corrects his own.”
It has been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. There is certainly a lot to be learned from the people around us if we aren’t too proud or busy to take the time to watch and listen. Now that coaching has become such a recognized form of training in the business community, it is not considered to be an admission of failure. In fact, it has gained almost the same level of respect that going to a therapist once had back when that was considered to be in vogue. It seems as though everybody is doing it these days.
There is a lot to be learned from others, whether it be from their mistakes, their experience or from their successes. All three can be tremendously beneficial to someone who wants to become a Winner in life. Some professional trainers believe the best thing they have to offer is the learning they gained from the mistakes they’ve made in the process of becoming successful. Losers rarely learn from others and often resent those who really could have benefitted them the most. They think it is in some ways an admission of their own flaws or weaknesses.
Sometimes, we can learn a lot from those we work with. The road to success is often a path made from stepping stones. Each step of the way we can learn from others who are on the same path. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are learning because they are teaching us by example. Eventually we will wake up one day with a new understanding and be grateful for what they have given to us.
The fact that this book endorses the nuggets of wisdom that others have seen fit to pass down is certainly proof that I believe in the value of what they have to offer. In fact, I don’t know of any excellent success consultants or trainers who don’t share the wisdom they have gained from others in the books they write or the programs they use to educate others.
Often, the greatest life lessons occur when we don’t realize we are being taught. It may be from someone who displays wisdom where it is unexpected; other times it comes from observing how others handle success or failure, and gaining knowledge or understanding from seeing how it affects their life. The Winner can learn from anyone because he or she knows that everyone has something special to offer if we are willing to receive it.
Losers often cannot give or receive. They feel they are above those who are lower on the totem pole, therefore they can’t learn from them. They sometimes resent hearing what superiors have to say feeling as though it is coming as some form of condescension. They rarely share what they know if they have something that could help others. By keeping it for themselves, they feel it gives them the advantage and the upper hand.
Some people are just not teachable. Because they are not willing to make the effort to turn knowledge into something that will yield a benefit or life change, they don’t bother to learn new things. Losers feel like they have all they need to get what they want and they won’t often go out of their way to learn from someone else. They take whatever is the easiest road to follow and because of this, they often end up taking the long way or an even more difficult path than they need to. This can be a painful and empty way to live and those who are like this risk the joy of having someone to share their successes with.
The Loser says, “If I don’t have it within myself, I must not need it,” while the Winner asks, “If I don’t have it, where can I find it and what must I do to get it?”
Winning is more than just the result of having a plan and taking certain steps to achieve a goal. It is a way of life that includes everyone else that is a part of our story. Even those who seemingly have little to give can teach us about the value of humility and generosity. The elderly have wisdom that comes from their years of experience, where the young have optimism and enthusiasm that can be infectious and inspiring. From our peers, we can learn from their current quests in life just as they can learn from ours.
There are few who live a more shallow existence than those who cannot or will not learn from others. These are the Losers who circle the wagons around themselves and live a lonely existence protecting whatever it is they have managed to learn or gain from life and keeping it for themselves alone.
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Winners Versus Losers serves as a personal road map to help you re-discover your dreams or create the reality that you have been dreaming of for years. By reading this book, David Lewis hopes that you will view this as a treasure map of sorts leading to the vision you have intended for your life. Reaching your destination will be determined by your personal will, strengths and commitment. You may not even know what your dream in life is or you may have left it somewhere along the path viewing it as a foolish idea that would never come to pass, but if you have dreams, then why not have the desire and goal to achieve them. Your future is up to you.