The need to win

As the Olympic and Paralympic Games gets underway in Rio, it will be a great showcase of sport, in which there will be winners and losers. In the build up to the games I watched several TV programmes covering some of Great Britain’s medal hopefuls. One thing I find frustrating with these programs is when they try to understand the mind of an Olympic champion, and fail miserably by asking basic questions like.

Were you always a competitive person, do you need to win everything?

And the answer that the journalist wants is yes, I love to win, I hate losing, if I was racing a child I would crush them blah blah…

So putting the elite athletes to one side, and focusing on everyday people, why do we have this subconscious need to always win, and what does this say about us?

The positives of a winning mindset combines focus, effort etc. and it can give purpose, we aspire to it subconsciously from an early age. But the satisfaction from winning does not last, sometimes it’s about taking part and doing the best that you can from the situation you find yourself in, which is the emphasis of the spirit of the Olympic refugee team.

If winning makes you focus your worth for outside validation, then you will always be searching for value outside of yourself. Whereas I believe the following to be true:

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Maya Angelou 

So I’d ask you to question your relationship with winning. It’s not always about beating others, it’s about doing your best with the tools you have, regardless if you win or lose, these things are temporary. The focus is whilst you’re on the journey to do the best you can and not focus solely on the final destination.

One of my favourite Olympic memories is the sport of Derek Redmond in the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona. He met a challenge with an injury during the race, but with the help of his father he crossed the line, and this captures the Olympic spirit.

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