By Thomas C. Ossa
Winning. It changes one’s mentality.
If you think about winning, the chances of actually winning are significantly higher.
That’s why it’s important to think about winning.
Lest you think I’ve decided to move to Hawaii and develop Haiku, allow me to elaborate, with yet another story from my life that I will use to make my point.
This morning I woke up groggy. I had my Kelloggs all bran, drank my coffee, and even took a shot of beet juice. Usually, within a half hour that is enough to get motivated to take on the day. But today, it just wasn’t happening. At least not fast enough.
I decided to get on to my iPad and play one of my favorite pastimes, Blitz Chess. Basically, it is a chess game with some random person from possibly anywhere in the world, and each person has three minutes to defeat the other in a traditional game of chess. Moves are instant. I’m still amazed I can play against some dude in Saudi Arabia while drinking coffee in Stony Point.
This morning’s game was an absolute nailbiter. Oh, the stakes! And this dude had me dead to rights, he had me pinned with his Queen.
Still, I remained patient, and awaited my chance. It came in the form of an accidental move of his bishop (the pointy-headed guy) to a spot on the board, where my knight (the horsey guy) could totally capture the piece.
This forced my opponent to move his Queen out of position. Two moves later, I captured his Queen. In Chess, this is kind of a stake through the heart for most players. I went from -4 point advantage to a +5 advantage.
It’s hard to describe the moment when you feel the tables turn in your favor. I hope you’ve felt it at least once in your life. When the feeling is there, you want to capitalize on the feeling – perhaps to get more wins – but you also want to enjoy the win for all it is worth.
Wisely, I chose not to celebrate immediately, and made a few more moves to checkmate his king, and win the game.
“Yeah!” I said. Instantly I stood up, pumped my fist and celebrated by jumping around like an idiot with my dog. Thankfully, he’s a fan of my insanity.
“Well then…” to myself, “let’s get the day started.” I proceeded to get showered groomed and changed. I also started thinking about all the things I want to do today, rather than the things I have to do. Rationally, I then organized both the wants and needs as to-do list – then I did a quick workout, drank some water, and got down to doing some more winning. All neatly organized in a single to-do list.
By the end of the day, everything got done. I celebrated with a few more games of Blitz Chess. I didn’t win every game, but I sure as hell enjoyed every game. When my wife got home that night, we danced in the living room and ordered pizza.
My personal real life interpretation of winning is Michael Jordan’s final shot, against the Utah Jazz, June 14, 1998. The photograph of the shot is truly an opus, the finale to a career that showed the art of discipline and dedication to one’s life purpose — despite the challenges, tragedies, or distractions that could take most other men off course.
I’m not telling you how to win. But I am encouraging you to continually find ways to win. In business, in life, and in the games that you love. The challenge is worth it.
Getting to the point of winning is not a straightforward process. Sometimes, you have to make the right choices to put yourself in a position to win. That choice can sometimes come down to deciding to carve out 3 minutes to play your favorite game, strum a guitar, jump around the living room with your dog, or dance with someone you love.
You may not know the outcome when you start, but if you keep aiming to make the right moves, before the game is done – the odds will shift in your favor, and you will have set yourself up for success.
Only then, will you realize that you had the winning mentality all along.