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Winners and Losers

by Gary Lockwood

"She's a winner!" He's a real loser". We frequently hear people labeled as winners or losers. We seem to instinctively know the difference.

Many years ago, I saved a poem that discusses the difference between winners and losers. I don't know who wrote it, but I'll tip my hat to her or him, because the poem captured the essence of character that distinguishes winners from losers. I'll share it with you now with my thoughts.


Right here in the title is an acknowledgment of what most people want. To be a winner. To feel like a winner. With all the talk of win-win thinking, we still want to be a winner and to enjoy the positive emotions that accompany being a winner.

Winners make commitments
Losers make promises

While some people do treat their promises as commitments, many make empty promises knowing that they may not actually perform. The meaning of this stanza is clear; When winners make a commitment, they see it through to completion. You can count on a winner to come through.

Winners go through a problem
Losers go around it, never get past it

This little-known secret of winners is powerful. When encountering a problem, don't just work around it this one time. Why not over-respond? Solve the problem then keep going to solve the source of the problem. Fix it for good, not just for now.

Winners say, "Let's find out"
Losers say, "Nobody knows"

An insatiable curiosity allows winners to explore the source of opportunities as well as the source of problems. This makes it more likely that the winner will develop even more opportunities while solving the source of recurring problems.

It also turns out that genuine curiosity about other people is one of the secrets to increasing sales, improving customer service and strengthening relationships.

This little-known secret of winners is powerful. When encountering a problem, don't just work around it this one time. Why not over- respond? Solve the problem then keep going to solve the source of the problem. Fix it for good, not just for now.

Winners always have a plan
Losers always have an excuse

Have you noticed that successful people seem to know where they're going and what they want? It's no coincidence that winners have a plan. The process of thinking through the issue of what's important, allows the winners to keep a clear vision of the future and outline a path to get there. They routinely examine their mission by asking "where am I going with this", and "how will I accomplish my goals?"

Winners say "There's a better way"
Losers say, "It's the way it's always been done"

Continuous improvement is one of the hallmarks of successful people. Their motto is "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing better". Losers just keep on doing the same old things yet they expect different results.

Winners are always involved in the answer
Losers are always part of the problem

Winners are not whiners. Instead of complaining about a problem (or just sitting there being part of the problem), winners jump in looking for a solution. No blame, no pointing fingers, no belly-aching. Just fix it and move on.

Winners know there is still much to learn
Losers want to be considered an expert before knowing how little is known

We've all encountered people who want to be "the expert", even though their expertise is out-of-date, incomplete, or overestimated. You won't find them in classes, in the library or in deep debate. Winners understand that knowledge has a short shelf-life. Winners also appreciate that, to be valuable to clients, they must constantly explore the limits of their knowledge.

Winners learn from their mistakes
Losers learn only not to make mistakes by not trying anything different

Winners are opportunistic about learning from daily experiences. All of us have hundreds of experiences each day that could be valuable learning opportunities. Losers ignore them and surf the shallow surface of their knowledge. Winners understand that learning in today's fast-paced and ever-changing environment can't be left to chance. Successful people make a conscious effort to actively seek new ideas, innovation and growth.

There you have it. Is this the complete list of the characteristics of successful people? Surely not. There are as many types of winners as there are winners. To me, the poem addresses the fundamental qualities of being a winner. It captures the spirit of open-mindness, strength and compassion that makes winners and winning attractive.

Be a winner!

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About the Author...

Gary Lockwood is Your Business Coach.
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