2008-02-17 6:02 PM

How to “Win” in Life

Assume for a moment that life is a game. Like all superb games it is not zero-sum — there is a way for one player to win without another player having to lose. As I mentioned previously the upward spiral of win-win-win is achieved by being valuable and serving others.

So maybe you have identified your value and you headed off to serve people and got stuck in “paralysis by analysis”.

Who should I serve? How do I find them? Which of my valuables will serve them? What if they don’t know they need to be served?

Or better yet, you took the first step and picked somewhere to start from and “failed” to reach your goal (you did set a goal, didn’t you?!). Then once you had “failed” you decided it wasn’t such a good idea any way and you’d be better off sulking in the corner with Eeyore.

For those stuck at the first step some blunt advice (that I give myself often): Get over yourself and get moving. The only reason you haven’t acted yet is that you are afraid of looking like a fool. Or afraid of getting stuck at the next step. Or afraid it might work too well! The first is easy: the only people who matter in your life already know you aren’t perfect and are still with you — now get started!

And what about those sulking with Eeyore for “failing” (or afraid they’ll “fail” so badly that even Eeyore won’t like them). The key here is a little word magic. Richard Bandler was the first person I heard make the distinction between “failing” and feedback. Everything is potential feedback if you are paying attention and doing something with the new information. The only way to fail is to give yourself a time limit or otherwise artificially constrain your resources.

This is not “if at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you!”
This is “if at first you don’t succeed, duh!”

How many things worth doing have you done perfectly the first time and every time? (Or perfectly any time?!) Everyone I know learned by “failing” many, many times before they “succeeded”. (Dr Martin has a nice mind bender that questions “success” if there is no such thing as “failure”.)

Okay, so here is the step by step method:

  1. Identify your value.
  2. Pick a goal.
  3. Do something relevant.
  4. Observe what happens.
  5. Did it get you closer to your goal?
    • Yes! Keep going.
    • No. Go back to #3 and do a different something relevant.
  6. Did you reach your goal?
    • Yes! Go back to #1 and notice your new value, then pick a new goal.
    • No. Go back to #3 and do more of the things that got you closer to your goal.

Notice that there is no way out of this sequence. That is because winning is a process goal not an outcome goal.

I will be the first to admit that I make my life more complicated than this. However, when I stick to this plan (or similar) and choose goals that serve others I consistently “win” all the “prizes” in life. What happens when I do something relevant and that something doesn’t get me nearer to my goal? I pick a new something — any something that is still relevant!

What goals are worthy of your talents and value?
Which something will you start with today?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan 7 Comments »

7 Comments on “How to “Win” in Life”

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