Individuals and organizations with that "competitive stamina" gene never think they have done enough and anything.
"Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity." — Marina Abramović
Our society loves winners. We also love a great comeback story. Combine the words "comeback" and "winner," and instantly, we become inspired, galvanized, and motivated to replicate. We are emotionally captivated by the following narrative: A team or individual appears to be out of contention, then suddenly makes a miraculous recovery to win a championship. That ending is gold and perfect for beautiful Hollywood screenplays. The stories of immense resiliency, getting knocked down, facing long odds, and overcoming the naysayers to hoist the trophy are stories that warm our hearts; and then we use as teaching moments to share with our teams and organizations.
We tell our teams, "Look at the Washington Nationals, in Major League Baseball. They were 19-31 after the first 50 games. They improved focus, attention to detail, played together, and won the World Series—we can do the same if we play like a team." What we don't realize is the chances of "catching lightning in a bottle" are rather small. Duplicating the Nationals is damn near impossible. Yet we always use the one time winner as the example. The odds of repeating the Washington Nationals' formula are similar to selling a screenplay to Hollywood.
How come we never use the long-time winners and the teams that have built dynasties as our blueprint? Why? Because we never fall in love with dynasties. We never love the perennial winner in large part because we can never teach our followers how to develop "competitive stamina." We can all teach one time winning. What we all struggle with is managing and sustaining winning. Winning forever and constant competitive mastery.
Any team can win one time. Anyone can achieve great success one time. And for some, once might be enough. Individuals and organizations with that "competitive stamina" gene never think they have done enough and anything. They have no mantles in their homes or offices for any trophies. It's always about the next chance to compete, the next moment to win, and, most of all, the next opportunity to display domination and excellence. Winning never becomes boring; neither does preparing to succeed. The next game is always more prominent than the last win, regardless of who they are playing. Each contest is the biggest game of the year; each game gets the same amount of detailed attention. No one is ever satisfied.
What makes it even harder to develop "competitive stamina" is the world around us, which continually asks, how much is enough? Aren't you satisfied yet? Enjoy the winning, take time off, and relax. Folks asking these questions or making those suggestions, don't understand what drives people that hold the competitive stamina gene in the first place. They don't understand, the thrill is never in winning, but the chance to win again.
"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing," is one of the most quoted lines from Coach Vince Lombardi. However, his most significant saying touches on "competitive stamina: "The greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more."
Let's all strive to do more while allowing the mastery of excellence to become a state of mind and our mantra for life!
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