By traditional standard, winning something is about getting an award or a prize. It is the external proof or validation for the winner that he or she won whatever he participated in. To prove that he or she had put in the work.
What if winning is now a matter of perspective? It’s something that doesn’t require physical medals or official acknowledgement in the form of prizes.
What if you lost a competition but actually won in other ways? Let’s say you are running a race and you are about to win but you see someone on the verge of collapsing from heatstroke. You stopped to help the person to get medical attention and you lost the race. Yes, you didn’t win the race but you won by simply because you have the compassion and empathy for a fellow human being?
What if you have been battling depression all your life? Somedays you will be perfectly fine. Somedays, it’s like you find yourself drown in extreme hopelessness and everything seemed to be overwhelming. You feel like death is your only solution. Even so, you still show up to work and you sit your ass down at your desk. Then you read an email and managed to send a reply professionally. And you have the courage to tell people that you are suffering from depression instead of keeping it to yourself and needed time off. In that case, you didn’t lose. You won just because you showed up. There’s no prize for that but you didn’t let depression hold you back from living the life you want. A life that you desire.
So instead of thinking that you should be the first in everything or have more money than your friends, the Jonses, etc., why not think about the obstacles you have overcome and whether you have stayed true to yourself despite what life throws at you.
Let us start winning everyday.
Over the past year alone, I have learnt quite a lot of things about me. There are some traits about me that I dislike because I always thought they make me a weak or useless person. There was a lot of self-hatred but I realized it won’t get me anywhere. It doesn’t make me a better person. After much introspection, I realized that I’m actually winning everyday.
I won’t say I will get to achieve the examples I provided below every day but even if it’s just one, it’s good enough for me.
- I’m a highly-sensitive person and that means I can get easily stressed and overstimulated. When that happens, I tend to lash out at people. These days, I have learnt to keep it under control by first acknowledging those emotions and then refocus myself on the bigger issue. There will be times when I fail to do that but I will consciously make sure I don’t lash out at people. I won’t say I’m successful all the time but thus far, I hadn’t have one major lashing incident. And that’s an achievement.
- There were a lot of days and I will continue to have days when I’m just outright depressed and didn’t want to go to work. Yet, I still get myself up from bed. Go through the routines and go to work. Once there, I try my best to do whatever it is I’m tasked. So that is a win for me because I didn’t stop. I continued on with life.
- I’m also learning to let go of the perfectionism I have for the things I do. I acknowledge that it was something I have to learn to let go because I’m only human. Mistakes bound to happen and it was only through those experiences that I learn to be better. So these days, I aim for 60% to 80% quality of work instead and then seek to improve my work later through iterations. Sometimes it’s a hit and sometimes it’s a miss but I didn’t let it stop me completely. That in my book is another win.
- I can get self-absorbed and self-centered, even selfish a lot of times. If I did went down that rabbit hole of “the whole universe revolves around me”, people will remind me. The past me would probably blame the whole world or be angry at the person. Now, I know there is really only me to blame. To be a better version of myself, I try to more empathic to the people around me. I consciously look at what another person need or want and then see if I can provide while trying to balance what I want or need. I win when I achieve both and both of us are happy.
- I’m also very self-aware of the fact that I can get self-destructive when certain things don’t go my way. As of late, I have learnt not to blame people around me for my self-destruction because it’s really my shit. My brain generates those impulses that to lead my self-destruction and it is up to me to decide if I want to act on those impulses or not. Thus, it is a win for me every time I didn’t act on those thoughts.
- Lastly, my life path is mine to walk. Nobody, not my friends, parents or colleagues get to decide and tell me I should go that route or do that thing. I will do me and make sure I’m happy. A lot of decisions I make can sound and look really irrational to people but I really don’t give a shit. I know I will get upset over certain things I have done or decisions I have made that don’t turn out to be the better one but I also know that if I don’t do those things or make those decision, I will be even more upset and fill with regret. The fact that I can make those decisions and answer to myself without blaming another person is a great achievement to me.
So instead of self-hatred and punishing yourself for being a human, you can start by changing your perspective of yourself and call yourself a winner every time you did something better than what you usually do. That to me is a start to create a different kind of mentality that leads you to become a better person.