Them and you


Let’s face it; Winners don’t like to lose. Although winning has been associated with a comparison of you or me with a person we are competing, the truth is that Winning is not about achieving better than others; instead, its to deliver to our highest abilities. What is winning? It could have a different answer for each one of us, depending on our context. But the psychological effect of “winning” invariably has the same impact on all of us.

“Winning isn’t about finishing in the first place. It isn’t about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality.”

Run or Die, by Kilian Jornet

Why is winning so core to us? 

Our DNA has a desire always to be a winner set in it. Our most prehistoric ancestors overcame significant barriers and survived through what often looked like apparent defeat. The survival journey needed humans to be smarter and more responsive than the forces that could destroy them. Luckily, humans came fully equipped with the brainpower to think and invent the way to supremacy, thus ensuring their survival.

Fun fact: Winning not only feels better; it seems, winners also live longer! Academy Award-winners live, on average, four years longer than other actors.”

Recently, a famous Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his home in what appeared to be a case of suicide. He was a promising young lad of just 34 years old. He won various awards for his performance, including the best debut in 2014 and the best actor award in 2017. Not only in arts, but he was splendid at academics too. He won National Olympiad in Physics and was a student of Engineering at Delhi Engineering college. He later dropped out of college in pursuit of his career. He had a luxurious lifestyle in the full glare of fame.

Yet the end seemed to be a tragic defeat. “Some people are great when things are going well, but they fall apart when things aren’t.”

Trust me, none of us would want our story to be a recount tale of a rising star who dropped out before realizing its full potential. It is hard to keep going after a failure. 

We often look across stories of successful leaders in our fields. You may wonder what makes these people so unique, what they are like, and how they become so successful. Your mind starts comparative analysis for WHY’s, WHAT’s and HOW’s between them and you.   

Close Observations about Winners

Such comparative analysis is universal across people in business, athletics and sports, academia, medicine, and almost every other field. There are too many reasons for success. In sum, irrespective of the domain, it is observed that the highly successful have a kind of determination that plays out in two ways.

Firstly, these are very resilient and hardworking. Secondly, successful ones knew what they wanted. Not only they had determination, but they had direction. Its the combination of their passion, pursuance, and persistence made high achievers extraordinary.

A.P.J Abdul Kalam famously said, If four things are followed – having a high aim, acquiring knowledge, hard work, and perseverance – anything can be achieved. Known as “Missile man,” Kalam in early age, sold newspapers to support the family but had boundless aspirations to rise. His work contributions later part of his life elevated India as one of the most advanced countries in missiles technology. He was eventually the President of India in 2007. Kalam’s story is nothing but an account of his passion, pursuance, and persistence, and practicing these; he signed his wins.

What about Talent? 

For sure, talented people, when sticking around and trying hard, do phenomenally well than others. They come across as naturals. However, talent alone can take you so far. You need to be able to develop your talent. What makes success happen is a deadly mix of passion and perseverance, leading to a “never-give-up” attitude. Talent gives an early boost in the process, but what keeps the pace going is the attitude.

The critical question that we must ask ourselves today is: Would our work be relevant ten years from now? If the answer is yes, then further probing is needed into thoughts of whether the work will be done in the same way as it has been today? With how the world is continuously shaping and technology such as artificial intelligence is going to automate a large part of work that is repetitive, delivered periodically month on month or year on year. While it may not be apparent, how will our work look like in ten years from now, what is clear is that machine will be performing a more substantial portion of work. As the balance between machine and human contribution at work will be changing, new skills that foster innovation, creativity, judgment, and ability to communicate effectively will contribute more to the value creation process. The technology could be the most impactful reason of all in being a winner.

And Luck?

Someone asked me, What about luck? Arent successful people are more fortunate than others? Don’t they have hidden hands after them that make them Winners? 

Malcolm G, makes a compelling case in his book “Outliers,” that success (or failure) depends more heavily on luck than we’d like to admit. The external factors such as 

  • Where you are born;
  • What class of family you were born into;
  • How you were parented; and. 
  • How much money your family has. 

Acts as an invisible hand or luck, furthermore they are out of your control.

Now let us think about it if luck is a function of external factors, then it will always be a hindsight analysis that will co-relate those factors to success. In the rapidly changing world, any past analysis of luck fails to produce material learning that we can apply. It is practically safe to say that focusing on passion, pursuance, and persistence will lead to extract the most out of external factors. Luck is created in the process of doing the right things, rather than the reason for getting things right.

Conclusion

Invariably many factors are going to be at play for determining success. Some of the elements will be external and are going to be beyond your control. Talent development will be necessary; investment in yourself will cultivate the ability to adapt. But to achieve your maximum potential, the power will come from inside-out. Your passion for your work and perseverance to sustain the pursuance of desire will be vital in unlocking your maximum potential.

It is going to be hard to keep going after failure. But think about it, that the failure is not of yours, but it is of the efforts you put in for making something happen. It would help if you disassociated judging your work from judging yourself. Success is found in a pile of mistakes.