Losers Always Whine About Their Best; Winners Learn, Execute and Succeed

April 19, 2010 at 8:15 am 1 comment

What if you could get into a hot tub and magically return to 1986?   What would you do differently?  This is precisely the theme of Hot Tub Time Machine, where a group of relatively unsuccessful guys get a chance to do it all over again.   They get a chance to turn themselves from losers into winners by combining their wisdom of age with the innocence of youth.  

I always find it fascinating when people use the phrase “winning isn’t everything”, especially those who use it as a crutch for losing but are totally oblivious to its origins.     In 1950, at a physical education workshop at Cal State San Luis Obispo, UCLA football coach Red Sanders coined the phrase as part of the following statement “Men, I’ll be honest. Winning isn’t everything. (Long pause.) Men, it’s the only thing!”

Much like competitive sports, life should be about winning.  In my book, Kicked to the Curb, I discuss the concept of winning and note that everyone has the potential to be a winner, but many opt to take a different path; often the one of least resistance, much like the stars in Hot Tub Time Machine, only to be so disenchanted that they try to bring everyone around them down as well.  

But unlike the movie, we don’t get a second chance.  In life there are not those who can or can’t but rather those who can and those who opt not to.   The latter often equates to losing for which a crutch is often needed; hence the concept that winning isn’t everything.   By demeaning the concept of winning, success and achievement, those who can’t seek to diminish the accomplishments of those who can.  

Just look around you; we have an entire political ideology dedicated to diminishing accomplishment, success and achievement.  We have an entire profession dedicated to taking from those who have succeeded and using the courts to transfer their wealth to those who have taken the path of least resistance, often under the crutch of victimology. 

The mindset of being a winner or choosing not to be a winner starts when we are young.   From the earliest years, children learn certain behaviors that equate to winning and losing.   As parents, it is our responsibility to teach them the skills that are needed to make them successful, as winning is merely a byproduct of their ability to execute on the skills which they were taught. 

In younger years, the execution of these skills will translate into good grades, positive relationships with parents, friends and God and success in competition against others.   As golf great Nancy Lopez said, ” A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and use htem to drive themselves just that much harder.  Quitters take bad breaks and use htem as reasons to give up.  It’s a matter of pride.”

Rather than focusing on winning or losing, the key is to focus on education, execution and pride.   By instilling these values at a young age, we are setting the foundation for success in later life, where competition is far more fearsome than on the childhood field of dreams.  

Through the prism of history and around the business world today, there are certain qualities that the successful have in common.   From drive and ambition to execution and results, today’s business leaders share traits that make them winners in life with success that is a direct result of childhood experiences learned from parents, teachers and coaches.  

Karl Marx viewed competition as bad; an exploitation of the weak.   His communist principles sought to bring down those who could to the level of those who couldn’t, much like parents who want to eliminate scoring of sports events or contact in contact sports.   

Adam Smith, the father of American capitalist economics, believed that competition would breed success and challenged those who struggled to develop new innovations to become winners. Through the latter, America became the world’s predominant economic and military superpower.  

As the stewards of future generations, it is our obligation to not only teach our children how to be ambitious and strive for success but how to overcome those who want to hold them back.   It is perhaps easier said than done in a day and age when God has been banned from schools, teachers prohibited from using red ink to grade papers and the dumbing down of competition to the lowest common denominator.  

Nonetheless it can be done through perseverance, faith and dedication.   Accept the fact that there will be those who are obstacles in your quest to give others the tools needed to become winners, as this is critical to the very foundation of success.   Accept that others will go through life with a negativity that precludes them from being able to execute with the tools necessary to win.    Most importantly remember the words of Danny Elfman who sang, “And When Jesus comes he’ll be marching on with the winning side.”

So what would you do if you could go back to 1986?  Try harder?  Execute better?  Win more often?  I thought so.  


Chris Tidball is the author of Kicked to the Curb : Twenty Essential Rules For Coming Out On Top When Your Life Has Been Turned Upside Down and can be reached at chris@christidball.com.


Entry filed under: Career Optimization. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. KT  |  April 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I thought winners got to do something special with the prom queen? 😉 Good post…


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Contact the Author

Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at chris@christidball.com

Kicked to the Curb

Kicked to the Curb


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