“Winning solves everything.” – Tiger Woods
“A winner never stops trying.” – Tom Landry
“Losing feels worse than winning feels good.” – Vin Scully
“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” – Vince Lombardi
“A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” – Napoleon Hill
“Persistence is the quality of winners. Successful people never never give up.” – Lynda Field
“Winning isn’t everything, but it beats anything that comes in second.” – Paul Bryant
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombardi
Quotes courtesy of:
In this day and age, we find many individuals and families who try to avoid using this word or talking about it. It has been tagged with the vices of greed, avarice and ruthlessness. Unfortunately, reality shows that winning matters.
Winning /Victory is very important in life. Success is a multiplier in many ways. It breeds confidence, self-esteem and generates its own self-sustaining momentum. The individuals, communities, companies and nations that embrace winning/victory as their mantra thrive both in the short and long term.
History is the folklore and stories about the winners. If you read your history books well the key stories are about those who won. The Empire of Rome, Ancient Greece, the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa, the British Empire, the Mongols – Genghis Khan dynasty, the Ancient Chinese Empire and the American Empire are stories that will remain embedded for immortality.
All these were all the result of epic victories on the battle field coupled with technological and scientific achievements. This gave them an edge over other nations and they took the leadership mantle until other nations or empires displaced them in these critical areas.
The benefit of winning can last for many generations and centuries. The inverse is also true. Loss can affect many generations and individuals detrimentally. That’s why it’s very important to study winning as a key and crucial pillar in your life.
The tragedy of loss
I thought about this topic recently as I happened to glimpse and watch the pain of relegation of a football team from the top division. This was Southampton Soccer Club in the English Premier league that had been relegated from the Premier League to the Championship division. (2022 – 2023 season)
Their fans were distraught and sad. It was tragedy written on the face of the relegated team. The team is now on a downward spiral that will be hard to contain. What usually happens is that the big sponsors terminate contracts with the relegated team.
The best players are snatched by other clubs in the Premier league. Fans stop watching games and the impact on club revenues is drastic. The city and surrounding communities’ revenue is also impacted. With reduced revenue means lost opportunities.
Visiting and local fans who spend on entertainment, food and travel dwindle. Jobs and livelihoods are impacted adversely in the community. It will take thrice the effort to have the team gain back it’s lost glory and be reinstated back to the Premier league.
This is the impact of loss on a team and community. It’s far much worse in the battle field. Entire nations and empires have been vanquished after losses on the battle field. The Greek Empire, Roman Empire and many other empires and kingdoms have vanished after drastic loss in the battlefields.
It’s very important to know the importance of winning at both the personal, community and national level.
Wild animals and how loss impacts them
Nature always teaches us lessons. When I watch television, I prefer watching National Geographic Wild. The lessons taught here are savage but instructive.
When the alpha male or males in a pride of lions, lose a battle to rivals, that’s the end of those lions and their genetic hereditary line. The first order of tasks by the victors is to kill any cubs in the pride to ensure their own blood line is seeded in the pride.
Animals in the Northern hemisphere especially in the far north have to hibernate during the winter season. This means that they have to gain as much weight and build enough fat reserves for the winter season.
Bears have to time the Salmon run season in late summer. The alpha males get the best spots in the upstream area of the river. They get to eat as much Salmon to their fill and build the necessary fat reserves.
The bears that fail to eat enough fat, die in their dens due to hunger. Animals that hibernate and have not built up the proper reserves of weight or food banks die. Nature is brutal and rarely gives a second chance.
Winning enables survival to the next day. The weak, sickly and wounded animals do not survive in nature and are weeded out fast. The predators in the hunt always single out the weak individuals in the herd and kill them first.
Why winning is important on a personal level
Individuals who win their own personal battles, control their emotions and achieve their goals thrive both in the short term and long term. Self-control, iron clad discipline and tenacity are key characteristics displayed by perennial winners.
Choices and Capacity
We get to increase our opportunities, choices and build our inner capacity when we decide to win in all spheres of our life. We have the mental and physical aspects that we have to deal with in our lives. This include the spiritual, career, personal skills, physical, personal relationships and financial aspects of our lives.
Individuals who focus on winning in all these areas of their lives have more fulfilling and richer lives than the rest of the population. When you focus on been the best version of yourself in all areas it opens up a whole different world and opportunities for yourself and loved ones.
Individuals who win lift up their families, communities single handedly just by the multipliers generated by success in the long run. I have personally witnessed the impact of star athletes in the Northern Rift Valley of Kenya my immediate neighbor.
The success of one individual Kipchoge Keino in the track in the late 60’s inspired successive generations to embrace track and field athletics and a multitude of stars have come forth. The monetary rewards have impacted the community positively and inspired them to greater heights in other fields and areas.
Sports of different kinds: Athletics, Karate, Judo, Aikido, Boxing, Car racing, Golf, Tennis, Soccer, show case the personal characteristics of a winning mentality.
I will showcase three individuals who are famous celebrities and house hold names. The level of discipline they displayed at a personal level to achieve their success.
Most names that are legendary and engraved in immortality are usually associated with Sports. The best illustration of winning at a personal level is on the Sports Field.
Kobe Bryant Basketball- Mamba Mentality
The late Kobe Bryant had a winning mentality. He was truly dedicated to his great passion: basketball. From the time he was 13 years old he made up his mind he would study the greats: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jaber, Michael Jordan and join that elite group at the top
He intentionally set out his goals and the rest was history. He outworked all his opponents for 20 years flat. He claimed to have slept for only 4 hours a night and practiced hard throughout the day. He rose to the pinnacle and was a member of the most acclaimed basket ball team ever- The Chicago Bulls.
He exhibited the three key characteristics of winners. Tenacity, Vision/Goal setting and an ability to work hard despite all the obstacles he faced off and on the pitch.
Mohammad Ali – ‘I am the Greatest”
The late Mohammad Ali was a boxing great. There will never be another like him. He changed the boxing arena and brought show time to the boxing ring.
He was truly a show man and a great sportsman. He brought out phrases which will live for time immemorial: ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see’, ‘I don’t count my sit-ups.
I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting, because then it really counts. That’s what makes you a champion.’ He was truly the greatest of all time. He had total belief in his ability, a great work ethic and a passion for what he did.
Rodger Federer- The Tennis ‘GOAT’
Rodger Federer the Swiss maestro still remains the greatest Tennis player to have graced this earth. He was talented but he understood talent was not enough and worked hard. He actually stated that he practiced for 22 hours a day at one stretch in his life.
He visualized what a true champion was and the behavior a true champion epitomized. He was an example both on and off the pitch. He brought true dignity to his craft. He was always improving each and every day.
He pushed the limits in the sport and surpassed those limits. It was always a joy to watch a Rodger Federer match.
Four key characteristics of Champions/Key Stone habits
- An extraordinary work ethic
Champions have a work ethic that’s greater than normal. They keep going at it beyond the average. This is why they are at the top percentile of their profession. They do not understand the term taking a break.
They do what they need to do to master their craft and get better at it. If it means not taking vacations and working for long hours each and every day they will do it. They are the first in the gym and the last to leave the gym.
They are the first at the office and last to leave the office. They are constantly improving. They always ask themselves this question: How can I get better? What can I do to today to improve by that extra margin?
- They think and dream big: They live by purpose and vision
A true champion sets standards for themselves and others that are big and seem impossible to the average individual. Their goal is to surpass the greatest in their individual fields. They are not satisfied with small breaks and goals.
They go for the immortal and legacy making goals. They only study the best and aim for the best. They are perfectionists and always have master plans, short- and long-term goals with them.
They do not settle for less but nothing but the best. They look at that mountain top and say they will conquer it no matter what. They surround themselves with the best. The best coaches, great environment, best trainers. They ensure they have a great team and advisors around them.
- Self-Disciplined: Individuals of integrity, Keeping promises and personal commitments.
All great champions embrace discipline. Disciplined individuals keep their promises to themselves and others. Winners make promises to themselves that they honor. Winners are usually individuals of integrity they strive to keep their promises.
They have the personal courage to live by their own personal philosophies. They take the big risks as they know that the big pay offs always come off by taking the big risks. They bet big on themselves and trust their instincts.
- They are maniacally obsessive with singular focus and are tenacious.
Champions are detailed and obsessive. They are very detailed oriented, persistent and tenacious. They learn their craft to the last detail. They leave nothing to chance. They give themselves the best chances and odds to win.
They do the research and leave nothing to chance. They are always at their ‘A’ game and go for it. Winners are very tenacious and have the grit to persist where others give up along the way. You will always see the motto ‘Winners never quit and quitters never win’ This is a true mantra about winners. They simply don’t quit they keep on moving along.
Characteristics of Losers
Invert all the characteristics listed above and you get a listless and hopeless individual. If we have no purpose and vision for our lives, we will never fulfill our potential.
What defeats the majority of human beings is the phenomenon of delayed self-gratification. Self-sacrifice and delay in receipt of rewards is what really matters on a personal level. Fighting and winning the battles for self-gratification daily and consistently are what leads us to achieve our short term and long-term goals
If you witness lack of moderation or discipline in an individual it usually acts as an indicator of a personal down fall in the future. It starts with our own health and personal diet. If we cannot moderate, control our diet and eat the right quantities and right food this spills over to other activities.
Obese and unhealthy individuals lack the energy to thrive and advance their own personal goals. An unhealthy state becomes a personal financial drain on an individual and community. Overall productivity is lowered and focus is diverted.
Avoid this list at all costs and aim to embrace winning habits.
Other Examples of Winners/Champions
We literally have many examples of true winners we can emulate from businesses, communities and nations.
Below I illustrate some companies and nations that rose above the rest and delivered on their visions and strategy.
World wide brands and companies that are true winners in the eyes of their consumers and have outlasted their competitors are few and a rare phenomenon. But the companies that deliver to their true calling and purpose shine above the rest.
I will cite 3 examples of companies that are household brand names all over the world and are winners/champions in their respective areas.
Coca cola is found in almost every country in the world. Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. In 2013, Coke products were sold in over 200 countries worldwide, with consumers drinking more than 1.8 billion company beverage servings each day. (Source Wikipedia). Their objective is simple to deliver refreshing drinks to their customers each and every day.
They fulfill this promise multiple times each and every day. A Christmas is not really a Christmas without seeing the Coca Cola adverts. Their vision: ‘Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit…..’ That’s their core vision that guides their purpose refreshing body, mind and spirit.
The Japanese company is reknown for manufacturing quality, cheap and reliable vehicles. They are the industry leader and a juggernaut. Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota City, Aichi, Japan.
It was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda and incorporated on August 28, 1937. Toyota is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, producing about 10 million vehicles per year. (Source Wikipedia)
The Toyota Landcruiser is the vehicle of choice for overland travel over rough terrain. If the world’s war lords choose it as their vehicle of choice that’s a testament to the ruggedness of the vehicle. They are committed to been the best at what they do.
The Japanese philosophy Kaizen has catapulted this company to the top of the ladder in the car manufacturing business. Their vision Toyota will lead the future mobility society, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people. Through our commitment to quality, ceaseless innovation ….” That’s the hall mark of Toyota ceaseless innovation.
The epitome of luxury and a statement that you have made it. The young rappers and musicians will always feature a Mercedes Benz in their videos. It’s the limousine of choice for world leaders, business men and politicians.
Mercedes-Benz commonly referred to as Mercedes and sometimes as Benz, is a German luxury and commercial vehicle automotive brand established in 1926. Mercedes-Benz AG (a Mercedes-Benz Group subsidiary established in 2019) is headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Mercedes-Benz AG produces consumer luxury vehicles and commercial vehicles badged as Mercedes-Benz. In 2018, Mercedes-Benz was the largest brand of premium vehicles in the world, having sold 2.31 million passenger cars. (Source Wikipedia)
This German brand delivers on it’s promise, it show cases class, style and the individual standards set by the individual. Their goal and vision is simple ‘We will build the world’s most desirable cars’ and they aim to do this each and every day.
Nations that win have a strong vision for their countries, they implement this vision and execute it with discipline. They have been able to raise their people out of poverty and enrich their lives. To do this there has to be a strong correlation between three variables: education, innovation and industrial output.
I will show case three leading nations in the world:
China once regarded as the sleeping giant of the 20th Century is now living up to it’s potential. The last 50 years have witnessed the remarkable growth of this country from a rural backwater to the leading industrial juggernaut in the world.
The leader who instigated this growth is Deng Xiaoping Deng Xiaoping – Source Wikipedia who was President from 1978 to 1989. He unleashed a radical vision for the country. Deng thus took the reins of power and began to emphasize the goals of “four modernizations” (economy, agriculture, scientific and technological development and national defense).
He announced an ambitious plan of opening and liberalizing the economy (Source: Wikipedia) Deng continued to chair and develop the reform and opening up as the main policy, and he advanced the three steps suitable for China’s economic development strategy within seventy years: the first step, to double the 1980 GNP and ensure that the people have enough food and clothing, was attained by the end of the 1980s;
The second step, to quadruple the 1980 GNP by the end of the 20th century, was achieved in 1995 ahead of schedule; the third step, to increase per capita GNP to the level of the medium-developed countries by 2050, at which point, the Chinese people will be fairly well-off and modernization will be basically realized (Source Wikipedia)
His aim was to have the Economy quadruple in growth by the year 2000. Four Special Economic Zones were opened up along the Southeastern coast of China: Shenzhen, Shantou, and Zhuhai located in Guangdong province and Xiamen located in Fujian province. These Economic Zones were granted free market-oriented economic policies. (Source Wikipedia)
China decided to accelerate the modernization process by stepping up the volume of foreign trade, especially the purchase of machinery from Japan and the West. By participating in such export-led growth, China was able to step up the Four Modernizations by attaining certain foreign funds, market, advanced technologies and management experiences, thus accelerating its economic development. From 1980, Deng attracted foreign companies to a series of Special Economic Zones, where foreign investment and market liberalization were encouraged
Out of the special zones, perhaps the most successful was Shenzhen. It transformed from 126 square miles of villages into a business metropolis. … the ten years of economic reform from 1980 to 1990 increased population in Shenzhen by six-fold, GDP by around sixty-fold, and Gross Industrial Output by two-hundredfold. Before 1980, Shenzhen’s GDP was just 0.2 percent of Hong Kong’s. In 2018, the city’s GDP hit 2.42 trillion yuan (US$372 billion), overtaking Hong Kong (Source Special economic zones of China – Wikipedia)
…Since their inception, SEZs have contributed 22% of China’s GDP, 45% of total national foreign direct investment, and 60% of exports. SEZs are estimated to have created over 30 million jobs, increased the income of participating farmers by 30%, and accelerated industrialization, agricultural modernization, and urbanization.
This is the power of a winning vision that is executed according to plan. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of absolute poverty in China and it has a prominent seat in all World decision making bodies as it’s influence has grown out of it’s economic might.
United States of America
America the nation was founded in the year 1776 after 13 British Colonies in North America declared independence in the North American Continent. Their key grievance was taxation without representation.
This declaration of independence was a paradigm shift and catalyzed the new American Nation
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness ( Source Wikipedia)
A war was fought for 7 years and they finally achieved true independence in 1783. After that the country expanded west through conquest and land acquisition to reach the Pacific Ocean.
A civil war was fought in 1861 to 1865 after the Southern States decided to secede from the Union. The war lasted for 4 years and led to the defeat of the Southern States but led to a stronger federal government.
The after effects of the war and the reconstruction period resulted in a boom in trade. Between 1865 and 1898, coal production rose by 800 percent and railway track mileage by 567 percent. By the middle of the 1880s, the United States had surpassed Britain as the world’s leading producer of manufactured goods and steel.
Technological innovations, such as steamboats, passenger trains, and factory machines, transformed the United States from an agrarian country to an industrial one and produced newfound prosperity that enabled U.S. expansion across North America (Source (cfr.org))
America began territorial oversea conquests by the turn of the twentieth century, the United States controlled territory spanning ten thousand miles from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. Its economy had surpassed the United Kingdom’s to become the world’s largest, supercharged by increased production of steel and the adoption of new sources of power like oil.
It boasted a powerful—and tested—navy, which could defend U.S. interests both in the Americas and now further afield. Indeed, the United States sent over a thousand marines to Beijing in 1900 to help put down a domestic uprising that threatened U.S. commercial interests.
Two World Wars cemented America’s Leadership position in the World. The first and second world wars left America as the leading economic and military power in the world. The USD Dollar became the World’s defacto Reserve Currency which gave America a distinct advantage in international trade.
America was the production hub for the Allies during the 1st and 2nd World War. It’s industrial might was transformed to produce the necessary war machinery and resources. This cemented it’s position as the leading economic power in the world.
This is a position it holds to this day. This all emanated from the Declaration of Independence.
The tiny city state of Singapore in South East Asia also accomplished a rare feat turning around it’s economic fortunes in the space of 30 years. It was a poor country in the 1960’s but currently has one of the highest GDP rates in the world.
This was all about the vision and will of one individual, Lee Kuan Yew. He was Singapore’s first prime minister and held office from 1959 to 1990. This is his vision summarized below and the results of executing this vision.
Lee Kuan Yew’s emphasis on growth, the thrust on making Singapore attractive as a destination for investment as well as the focus on drawing world class manpower; building state of the art infrastructure and excellent air and sea linkages; a low and transparent tax regime; clean and efficient bureaucracy; a strong regulatory and legal framework; a neutral diplomatic policy which has ensured it is an ally of the US as well as China; and developing a clean and green city, have ensured Singapore’s stupendous economic success.
To ensure this economic growth had a solid and sustainable future he emphasized the rule of law; efficient government structures; the continuous fight against corruption; and overall stability. (Source BBC)
Along with Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers, and has surpassed its peers in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Between 1965 and 1995, growth rates averaged around 6 per cent per annum, transforming the living standards of the population. (Source Wikipedia)
This is how having a winning vision and execution can propel an entire nation to a nation of winners. A great vision is a great catalyst and anchor for success into the future. This was demonstrated by the Singapore Success story.
I can draw more examples from different fields on how success and victory impacts and enriches the lives of many individuals positively but it will be an overkill. The message is clear winning and success is vital and necessary in our personal lives, careers, communities and nations.
Without success we cannot thrive. We cannot innovate, we are limited in the scope of activities we can perform. Victory increases opportunities and allows us to scale higher and give more to our communities.
Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable – Tim S. Grover with Shari Lesser Wenk
The Champion’s Mind: How great athletes think, train, and thrive – Jim Afremow
Winning – Jack Welch and Suzy Welch