Meaningful Life— Principle #4: Live your life by “playing to win…not to lose”. Have belief in yourself.

Author’s note: On this post I will expand on Meaningful Life Principle  # 4 principle –Live your life by “playing to win and not to lose” by having belief in yourself. See all thirty+ life principles by visiting the post Handbook for Creating and Living a Meaningful Life  

Henry David Thoreau wisely said about living a meaningful life: “Most people live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

Life presents many experiences and to avoid desperation I think takes courage to get your song out by playing to win in life and not playing to lose. Living your life with belief in yourself means framing your life with optimism, confidence and enthusiasm, positive energy and self-efficacy.

Life needs to be seen from a winning perspective. Helen Keller summed this up when she said Life is either an adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger (playing not to lose) is no safer in the long run than exposure”.    For a many people experiences are just experiences and they are not seen as opportunities for learning or living life as an adventure. Consequently, they are not smarter or more self-aware from all the things they have done. They are essentially, stacking-up one experience after another without stopping to reflect and learn from what just happened to them. Essentially, they are playing the game in life that I call “playing not to lose”.

If you feel like life is passing you by and you are losing ground in your race to be happy or fulfilled in life. Then maybe you are suffering from mental lethargy or playing not to lose. This is a syndrome that requires you to stop and redefine your definition of your mission in life and how you view winning and losing in this chaotic and fast paced 21st Century. Many experts are saying we are  going through a period of rapid transition, which requires new mental maps and tools to survive and flourish in our lives.

To learn how to cope requires us to redefine our mental maps of how we process daily life experiences and see the world.  Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, supported this viewpoint when he said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  So how do we create the future? Essentially, it is living a life of curiosity and optimism by making smarter choices in life. As more and more Americans become stressed out in their lives the rules for creating a more balanced and positive life requires us to STOP.REFLECT.CHOOSE and ACT with more understanding of how to fulfill are needs and wants. If you find your self “stuck” or spinning your wheels or low on energy than you use to, or you find you are burning out much faster, or you are not growing in ways consistent with your espoused values and beliefs, then continue reading…

Are you avoiding learning from the experiences that present themselves to you by being inflexible, living with out dated mental maps, avoiding risk and overwhelmed with  choices and uncertainty ? If you answered yes, then you are “playing not to lose” rather than playing to win. Henry David Thoreau wisely said, “Most people live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

It is human nature to want to feel safe and remain in a certain comfort zone. We value life being predictable to a large degree. We value certainty, structure, stability and security. Too much of these qualities, however, and our lives become stagnant and without meaning. By attempting to maintain our comfort zone to feel safe, we actually begin shrinking it. The same applies in business. Unless we step out of our comfort zone by taking risks, learning new things, trying new adventures, we will not grow or reach our full potential. We become stagnate and life becomes meaningless. Until we decide to make choices to embrace life and stretch ourselves, our comfort zone will continue to shrink with time, resulting in failure and unhappiness in our lives. It is healthy and natural to coast at times. It is important to remember, however, when we coast or keep the “status quo” in place we are always taking a risk that our lives will stagnate or go downhill! Here is a hint: If we are not leaving it on the field and playing full-out, then we are not playing to win, but rather playing not to lose. This weekend pause and ask yourself, two questions: “What risks am I avoiding in my life to stay comfortable?” and How do I strive to be more engaged and focused to accomplish my personal mission in life? List three ways I am just playing to survive and three ways I am thriving in life? What do you need to do or choose in order to turn the surviving things into striving “play to win” things in your life? choose to play not to lose or play to win!

Playing to Win Means NO EXCUSES! Playing to win means deciding you will attract and achieve exactly what you desire this year — No matter what! It means choosing to create a life and business that is thriving this year. Playing to win means choosing to believe you can achieve more income this year; refusing to quit; refusing to think you are limited in anyway by external factors. Playing to win means you know this can be your best year yet — and it’s not too late to jump on it and achieve any big and exciting goals that you may have put on hold — until now.

Playing to Win Means Becoming Comfortable with Uncertainty: For many people these are uncertain times. If we allow the external factors to decide our certainty, we feel powerless to control situations. We are like a boat being tossed about on the high seas without a rudder to guide us. When we shift our beliefs to say, “I am certain I can succeed no matter what because I know what my priorities are and believe in my ability and skills to  pursue what I value most in life,” we now have a rudder to steer our boat no matter what situations threaten to toss us around. We enjoy an internal certainty that cannot be rocked no matter what is happening in the outside world.

It is so much more fun, actually easier and oh so fulfilling when we play to win at the game of life — vs. playing not to lose

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