#011 | Winning isn’t everything

“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

Now I know this sounds sacrilegious for an American to say that winning isn’t everything in a country that prides itself on winning everything. And as much as I love winning, I’ve lost way more than I’ve won, so I can say that it isn’t everything–even though I still go into every competition wanting to win.

Wanting to win means you put forth your best effort; you run your race or play your game to best of your ability. You practice, rehearse, study, prepare so that you go out and leave it all out there. You give it your all.

But if you simply only believe that winning is everything, that means you are only concerned with the result. You don’t focus on running your race, but you concern yourself with what everybody else in the race is doing. You want the prize at the end, so you may even engage in questionable tactics like bending the rules, sabotaging your fellow competitors, or down right cheating just so you can bask in the glory that is winning.

But once it’s all over, what does that mean? You have a trophy, but are you better at what you do? Does the trophy represent the most skilled competitor? Or just the most skilled fraud?

This past year for me has epitomized this quote–too well. I have entered my writing and acting into more festival, contests and competitions than I probably have all my life combined, and I haven’t won a single thing yet. But the least of my concern is what other artists are doing or how I might be able to undercut their efforts or even withhold information from them in order to get a foot up.

No. When I hear about a new contest, I tell all the best artists that I know about it too. Because I know that every single day, I work on my craft to get better, stronger, greater at what I do. I want to compete against the best, so that when I do win it’s not about the trophy, but knowing that all of the hard work I put in is actually taking me another skill level and closer to another goal.

Listen, I love winning. I want to win everything I do so badly–so much so that it hurts when I don’t. I’ve been known to get deeply miserable and angry, and cry for days, because it’s hard to feel like all that hard work and sacrifice wasn’t enough.

I’m not a “good loser,” and incidentally, Lombardi also said, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” So I will never be okay with losing. But what I am okay with is working harder, and that’s what losing means I have to do.


So think about it: Is there something that you desperately want to win? And if so, are working hard so that you will, or are you trying to find some other way to obtain that trophy?


Today’s assignment: Write down that goal that you want to achieve, and then write out 5 things that will help you become more poised to obtain this goal. These can be (and actually should be) very small things that you know you can do. Accomplishing these will help you with your confidence along the way.


Vince Lombardi is one of the greatest football coaches of all time, best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total National Football League championships in seven years, in addition to winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. He’s a 6-time NFL champion, was known to be one of the most accepting, non-prejudice people in the game, and is remembered as one of the most influential figures in American sports.