Are you “playing to win” or “playing not to lose”?

“ In order to succeed your desire for success need to be higher than you fear of failure” – Bill Cosby

playing to win
While we would all want to be always consistent in our performance unfortunately professional and personal effectiveness like life does not come in absolutes. As most business leaders grow in an organisation there are subtle changes that start happening in their personal mindsets.

Three things to watch for are:

  1. Fear of losing the success you have achieved: Often the success you have achieved in itself become the shackle that binds you. The fear of losing the glory that success brings or the fear of dealing with shame of failure often makes us take the safer route.
  2. Risk of impacting personal lifestyle: This is often a big one to make people risk averse. As our stature in life rises so do our expenses. Willingness to risk  not being able to live the good life is understandably a big one.
  3. Energy to keep up: Often lack of not  physical but the mental energy to keep up leaves us wanting not to take risks
playing to win
Whatever be the reason once you get into this being safe attitude you will tend to move from “playing to win” to “playing not to lose”. What this means is that you will move from giving it your all to make things happen to making sure that you don’t fail irrespective of whether you ae moving ahead or not. On the surface this may seem like a safe and practical choice but the repercussions are much more severe if not that visible.
Some of these are:
  1. Losing your fire: Life becomes monotonous and  lack lecture. A smart mind when not challenged sufficiently is bound to becomes bored and irritable. The very spark that made you the icon you are will start to dwindle.
  2. Discontent: If you are not living your full potential there is bound to be dissatisfaction with what you are doing that no amount of money and security can compensate for.
  3. Victimhood and regret: While I see individuals hide behind the excuse of making choice for others there is always an element of victimhood and blame.
  4. Compromising on growth: John Henry Newman said”Growth is the only evidence of life”. If you are not growing you are not living. Growth then is not optional but a necessity. Holding onto what you have will limit your growth and make you obsolete and perhaps lead you to the failure that you fear most.
playing to win
The unfortunate part of this whole story is that in making these “compromises” we are looking for certainity and safety but life and the universe by its very nature can never be certain. Certainty and safety is an illusion that we create to make choices easier for us. And the more we look for this safety the more risk averse we become. The message here is not to throw caution to the wind but ask yourself what it is that is really holding you back and is it worth it? What is the worse that could happen if your fear did come true and how much of that fear is an assumption and not the reality? By embracing safety are you
losing out on the things that make you feel alive?

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