The Winning Mind: 8 Steps to Achieving Success in Business and Life

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“We will either find a way, or make one.” – General Hannibal

A winning mind in business and in life is essential for success. A winning mind is something that must be actively cultivated and become a part of your everyday way of thinking and being.

I still recall the words of my Judo coach during my semi-final match at the Eastern Collegiate Judo Championships. I was going up against an opponent who I thought was a better Judoka than me, and as such I decided to play a defensive game. During a time out in the match, my coach grabbed me and stared ferociously into my eyes and said, “Concentrate on winning; losing will take care of itself.” Winning is an attitude and a champion must take on this attitude in order to take the top prize.

So how do you develop a winning mind mindset? Here are 8 steps to guide you through developing a winning mind.

  1. Know yourself. The Sun god Apollo had inscribed on his Oracle of Delphi temple the phrase, “gnothi se auton,” which meant know thyself. For you to develop a winning mind, you must first take stock of yourself by exploring your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have this information, use it to help you concentrate on building on your strengths and then work to reduce your weaknesses.
  1. Set realistic goals. The winning mind comes from having well defined goals with well-formed outcomes. It is easier to focus the mind if you have realistic aims, objectives and goals. A well-formed goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time driven (SMART). It is also important to address the ultimate goal in terms of the ‘why’ or purpose behind it. You must never lose sight of your ultimate goal because it’s the fuel that drives you forward to achieving it.
  1. Learn to be confident. Confidence is a key component of the winning mind. To win, you need to be extremely confident in yourself, your ability and in your belief that you can and will win. People respond favourably to confidence. A confident person commands respect. Even if you don’t feel overwhelmingly confident, still act as if you are confident and you will be confident. Just like an actor, you can get into character and assume the role of a confident person. The use of positive affirmations is another technique to help you build your confidence. Repeating phrases like, “I will do,” or “I can do,” helps to train the mind to assume the role.
  1. Seek personal excellence. Winning is a full time occupation. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment and sacrifice to be the best. If you want to develop a winning is everything attitude, you must proactively seek personal excellence. Personal excellence is doing things with heart. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small task; a winning mindset demands that you give 120% effort and then some. To quote a noted sage, “Do or do not. There is no try.” That’s personal excellence.
  1. Focus. To have a winning attitude you have to have the ability to focus exclusively on the task at hand. The focus of planning, writing goals, and training should all be geared toward winning. All though you may have the support of family, friends, coach or mentor, in the end, all the effort comes down to you. You have to focus and strive to reach your desired goal. Block out the distractions and focus on what you want to achieve. Henry Ford once said, “Obstacles are the things we see when we take our eyes off of the goal.” Stay focused.
  1. Honesty. To have a winning mindset, you must value honesty. You must be honest with those closest to you: their coach, partner, boss etc. But more importantly you must be honest with yourself. Graham Greene once wrote that we can never truly know another person. Only you will truly know in your mind if you are giving your all in the pursuit of winning.
  1. The three C’s. According to the psychologist Suzanne Kobasa, people with a winning mindset possess what she calls the three C’s: commitment, control, and challenge. The winning mindset requires you to be committed to achieving your goals. You must also feel in control of events rather than letting events control you. And you must see challenge as an opportunity and embrace it as par for the course of being a person with a winning mind.
  1. Never give up. The dedication to winning can be tough. But the true champion, the true winner, never ever gives up. It doesn’t matter how hard things get or how difficult the task becomes, the person with the attitude that winning is everything, never ever gives up.

If you are serious about the pursuit of winning, you must cultivate a winning mind. By following these 8 steps you will be well on your way to seizing the mantle of victory and living the idea that winning is an attitude.

“There is no substitute for victory.” General Douglas MacArthur

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