Monday, July 13, 2009

On Winning and Success

The trouble with winning is that for you to be a winner, someone has to be a loser.

This is fine to the extent of sports, schools, and other friendly pursuits, but when winning becomes an end in itself it runs the risk of becoming pathological. The all-consuming desire to win - at the expense of others - afflicts not just individuals but also companies, which after all are run by individuals.

Scruples are often the first casualty in the war for winning. The desire to win at every cost and to make the competition look like losers often leads to short-term thinking as you have to match and beat everything - irrespective of its lasting impact on your specific situation.

For my taste, success is a better word than winning. Success is achieved when you get to where ever you wanted to be - irrespective of others.

Success focuses on the goal, while winning focuses on the opposition. Success makes you clearer in your thinking - instead of just trying to do better than others on every parameter, it forces you to think about and choose the parameters that are important to you.

"Keeping up with the joneses" is not really a strategy, its not even much of a goal.

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