Is Winning Everything? 

 In This Week’s Article:  Who is making your decisions… You, or your Ego

When I was 15, I was swimming down at the local boat dock playing a good ol’ game of dock tag. For those of you unfamiliar with this game, it is when someone is in the water at the end of the dock and everyone else has to run and jump over the person who is “it” without being tagged. Last one left on the dock WINS!

At this point in my life (Ok, I am still not completely over it… but more on that later) for me winning was everything! I would have given anything to be the last person standing on that dock!  I thought it would be a great strategy to run right after the person in front of me so the “tagger” wouldn’t have time to react and tag me. My plan was working, until I was mid swan dive into the water and a direct course to smash into the person who had just jumped in before me. After colliding head-to-head with him, I had to be pulled back to the dock because I had a massive gash on my forehead and was just about knocked unconscious.

How freaking embarrassing!

Was winning really worth that? …Seven stitches later definitely not.

I have run this theme of only focusing on winning for the majority of my life, and I have come to realize that it is incredibly useful for inflating my ego, but not so much for accomplishing my genuine goals.

Competition filters every experience through the lens of winning or losing. For me, if I am winning, I am a bad ass that is deserving of love and praise, but when I am losing I am worthless.  My Ego hates feeling worthless so I would do all kinds of crazy shit to “FEEL” as though I am winning, like…

  1. Get into competition with people who had no chance at beating me, like my 12 year old. There is nothing like crushing someone at a game of Scrabble when they have half your vocabulary.
  2.  Constantly complaining about others and pointing out how hard I was working compared to everyone else. Not to mention, I would only put myself in comparison with people who were doing worse than me, never those who were further ahead than me.
  3. Blaming all my shortcomings on something or someone else. If I was losing it definitely wasn’t because of a lack of skills or poor planning, there obviously would be an outside force that was the culprit.

I could keep going but it would start to get too embarrassing…

I have come to realize that the biggest problem with only focusing on winning isn’t just ending up with a headache and stitches. It is that you completely forget what game playing or what the point even is.  Was the point of playing dock tag being the last person standing on the dock or was the point to enjoy playing with friends?

Is the point of playing board games with your kids to make sure they know you are smarter than them, or to spend quality, enjoyable time with them?

In the most important aspects of life, (like marriage, parenting, career, finances) there is not a clear definition of what winning or losing looks like. You are the only person who can define what will carry the meaning of “Success.”  But it is worth considering if the games you are trying to win actually contribute to the life you want to have on an emotional level… after all, isn’t everything we do in an effort to produce a feeling?

One of the biggest competitions we are all in is the fight between what we deeply want and what our ego wants. Our ego wants all of the achievements that say, “look at me, look at what I did, check out my house, my car, my kids, my body, my vacation.”

But our genuine self simply wants is to enjoy what and who we have.  The genuine self wants to be expressed through service to others, by making progress towards something meaningful, not fake. The genuine self is not concerned about status, money or judgment. It is concerned about giving to others love, joy and compassion.

Your ego says, “prove yourself.” Show the world you are great so others can give to you.

Your genuine self says “how can I improve so I can I give more to others”

What is on the line in this battle? – Inner peace, joy, fulfillment, happiness, and self-love, is giving up all that worth beating your neighbor, or impressing your friends? For some, it might… I am not here to tell you how to live your life, but rather make you think about what is most important to you, and if your strategies are effective in achieving those things. It was only through my own failed tactics that I was able to figure out my own life!

EITHER WAY >> Keep Making Progress! <<

– Bonnie