Oh, not winning in sports. That is nice, of course, and tangentially related to what I am thinking about, but I am thinking in the larger scope of things. Winning in any endeavor. Winning in life.
By "Winning", I do not just mean the sports analogy (there it is again) of defeating others and gaining first place. I am thinking of winning just as equally on the success level: accomplishing something, brining something to fruition.
In many ways our modern society has not helped this situation. Part of it is that we have many many options so we can flit from one area to another as our emotions and interests dictate (and to be fair, I have been a great beneficiary of this). Another part is we are a modern society: in a real sense, we do not have to "win" at much.
Compare this to almost any age prior to the 20th Century. If I as a farmer did not "win" at farming, I starved. If I as a carpenter did not "win" at building things, I again starved. There was a built in interest in succeeding because it directly impacted the ability to survive.
Am I grateful that my ability to garden does not determine my ability to live? I certainly am. But at the same time, this also gives me an intellectual out: I no longer feel that I have to win at it. I have no driving force beyond that of my own will.
Which is why the will becomes doubly important now. It is the drive that buttresses the urge to do well at something while not having our very existence depending on it.
Practically speaking, what should this mean for me? For you? Simply that going forward, when we undertake things and we get beyond the initial interest stage and commit, we are in to win. Winning can be defined however you wish, but it should do three things:
1) It should be measurable.
2) It should be tangible.
3) It should display a level of skill or effort that demonstrates the work that went into doing it.
I have reached the point that I truly believe that if we encouraged this sort of effort in ourselves and others - and demonstrated it, instead of a mediocre dabbling and lackluster work in every area of our lives - we would see dramatic results. Not primarily because of what we accomplished or how we won, but for the fact that those around us would understand that if we undertook something, we are In To Win - we will not acceptance anything less than a victory done by our own hard work.