Aaah... the age-old debate.
Are we born winners or do we become winners with hard work, discipline, dedication, determination... and all those other 'D' words?

We all want to be winners.
(Well, I've personally never met anyone who has the goal of being a loser).

Winners in our career, winners in love, winners in business, winners in health, winners in happiness, winners in sport, winners in life.
We don't all want to win at the same endeavour (thankfully)... and we don't all share the same definition of winning... but we do all want to win at whatever is important to us.

So of course winning is represented by different things for different people:

For one person, being able to complete a five kilometre (three mile) walk every day is 'winning', while for someone else, it's simply incidental activity which happens in the course of their typical day.

Not having a beer for a month would be a major victory for some people, but for someone like me (a non-drinker), it would be a non-issue; something which goes un-noticed.

Earning an annual salary of $100,000 would be an incredible achievement for person A, but a devastating loss of income for person B.

For me, talking to an auditorium filled with twenty thousand people would be a win, while for someone else it would be the most terrifying experience of their life.

'Winning' (on an individual level) depends on our standards, our expectations, our desires and our goals... but we're not gonna head too far down that philosophical road today (the 'what is winning' road)... or I'll get a headache and give you one at the same time.

My point is, we all need to determine what winning is for us.

So this post is not so much a 'lesson' from coach Craig, as it is an 'opinion piece' (my thoughts on the matter); a discussion...... possibly a debate (feel free to comment).

I regularly get asked these questions:

"Can anyone be a winner, or is it largely genetic?"
"Is it in-built?"
"Is it pre-determined?"

So what are the determinants of success?

What differentiates winners from the multitudes who might, by their own admission, seemingly spend much of their life back-stroking in a sea of mediocrity... not being where, what or who they wanna be?

I personally don't believe that winners are born, I believe they're made.
(I also believe that some people are given a definite head-start.. but that doesn't qualify them as winners).


I said it.
Post over.

See ya.

Alright I'll keep going.

Of course some people are born with certain advantages (be they physical, social, cultural, financial or other), but having great genetics or certain social or financial advantages is one thing... but being a winner, is another.

It's not what we're given that counts; it's what we do with it.

My observations have taught me that quite often the people who are given a 'running start' at life are the ones who spontaneously combust.

Waste what they've been given.

Being handed everything on a silver platter often means that the 'lucky ones' don't develop those highly desirable and valuable practical winning skills; those skills which allow us to win despite our situations, circumstances or challenges.

In fact, I wrote a post on this subject a while back called Is it a Gift to be Gifted . . . or is it a Handicap. It generated some spirited discussion. Take a peek if you haven't read it.

So for the moment, we're gonna go with the 'winners are made' line of thinking (until one of you convinces me otherwise) and explore how we can maximise our chances of becoming a winner in the game of life.

Clearly there are many variables on the winner's journey over which we have little or no control (innate ability, where we were born, genetics, what other people will do), so let's focus our energy and ability on the stuff we can control and let's keep it realistic, practical and simple.


1. Self control.
Winners create different standards for themselves and do things that most won't.
They expect more out of themselves than anyone else.
While the majority go the easy option, winners go the 'effective' option.
They consistently demonstrate a strength of character that most won't.

2. Adaptability.
Winners embrace challenges and change.
They find ways to cope in dynamic, volatile, ever-changing environments.
They always find a way.
While most people avoid discomfort, they embrace it... because they know what it leads to.
Winners make mistakes, learn from them, change accordingly and keep going.
Losers keep making the same mistakes; they don't learn.

3. Planning, preparation, organisation, research.
These guys don't accidentally win, they put in the ground-work.
They don't stumble blindly and ignorantly in the 'general direction' of where they wanna be; they move towards their goals like a bomber closing in on a target because they are highly prepared for their mission (sorry about the crappy war analogy but you get my point).
They know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.
While others are sitting on their butts complaining and waiting for success to knock on their door, winners are doing the hard yards.

4. Exceptional attitude.
We all know there's an undeniable relationship between attitude and outcome.... well winners live it. They choose to have a great attitude; they always find the good.
While losers are 'cracking the sads' (an Australian expression... feel free to use it), winners are keeping their head in the game (what is it with me and analogies today).

5. Mental and emotional toughness.
These guys deal with all kinds of crap all the time.
And survive.
When most people would curl up into the foetal position and suck their thumb, these guys are just warming up.
They do things in spite of their fears
They are resilient.

6. Efficiency: Winners don't waste time or energy on things they can't change.
Losers do.
On a daily basis.

7. Vision, clarity and certainty.
It's pretty hard to be a winner if you don't have clearly defined objectives.
Winners know exactly what they want and exactly what's required to get it.
Losers spend much of their time scratching their head and hoping someone will tell them what to do with their life.

8. Proactivity.
Winners get stuff done.
They don't procrastinate.
They are doers.
While losers are 'waiting for the right time'... and talking the talk, winners are getting on with business.

Okay, so I couldn't help myself.
I had to throw a (small) lesson in there.

So, am I right or am I wrong?

Author's Bio: 

Craig Harper (B.Ex.Sci.) is an Australian motivational speaker, qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, television host and owner of one of the largest personal training centres in the world.

He can be heard weekly on Australian Radio SEN 1116 and GOLD FM and appears on Australian television on Channel 31's 'Living Life Now' and Network Ten's '9AM'.

Motivational Speaker - Craig Harper