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Cultivating the Habit of Winning

Winning can become a habit if you’re willing to start right now, (the younger the better) and redefine winning as “Becoming a little stronger today than you were yesterday, a little stronger this week than you were last week, a little stronger this month than last month, and a lot stronger this year than last year.” While you’re at it, redefine losing as “Failing to become stronger day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year.”

Becoming the Captain of Your Own Ship
Under these conditions nobody else controls your opportunities to become a winner or a loser. The cards are all in your hands, and not in the hands of a conventional competitor, a teacher, a coach, a boss, a manager, a drill sergeant, or any other authority figure.

You become your own authority figure. You determine whether you’ll develop the habit of winning or the habit of losing. That is to say, nobody can prevent you from becoming habitually stronger. In fact the mere act of taking personal control of your own ship is the second and arguably the most important step in developing the habit of winning.

Fulfilling Your Potential
Think about this one. Show me a kid who starts young (say kindergarten) and spends twelve consecutive years cultivating the habit of winning, day after day, week after week, month after month, until he or she graduates from high school, and I’ll show you a graduate who has come frighteningly close to fulfilling his or her potential – a winning ideal that today’s educational institutions only dream about. On the other hand, this ideal is immediately accessible to any child who chooses to focus their attention on self competition.

On the Contrary
On the contrary, by actively pitting kids against each other starting at a very early age (say kindergarten) the current system does a great job of creating a handful of winners at the top of the educational ladder, a bunch of also-rans (average students) in the middle, and another handful of losers struggling to hang on to the bottom rung of the ladder.

Realistically by virtue of defining winning and losing in conventional terms this hierarchical conclusion is mathematically inevitable. It’s the only possible result. Then we sit around and wonder how the USA has managed to become a society in which a small percentage of the population can wield almost infinite power, while everyone else struggles. The answer is - this result is systematically built into our institutions, especially the institution of education.

Redefining Winning
On the other hand, there’s also nothing to stop educational institutions from redefining winning and losing in a way that encourages every single student to develop his or her full potential every day, every week, every month, all year long. And if helping develop the potential of every single student to the max is not education’s main goal, there’s something seriously wrong with the system we refer to as “education.”

Winning, Losing, and Childhood Obesity Prevention
Now, how does the habit of winning or losing impact the issue of childhood obesity prevention? Well, for starters, show me a kid who’s successfully cultivated the habit of winning and I’ll show you a kid who does not suffer from self esteem issues – the exact problem upon which so much of childhood obesity feeds and grows.

A kid who’s developed the habit of winning has also developed the psychological strength to say “no” to things that undermine his or her well being whether tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or fat filled fast food. They can say “no” with conviction and make it stick because they’ve made self control, self determination, and winning a lifelong habit. It’s seeped into their DNA over time and the results are tangible and measurable.

In other words, these kids are in the habit of saying “yes” to those things that make them strong. They’re in the habit of saying yes to winning. And as the old saying goes, “Everybody loves a winner.” So why not choose winning over losing, especially since it’s well within your power to do exactly that?