We talk about success and often think of it as a form of winning. There is a difference, however. Getting the highest grade in a class or the most points in a sporting event isn’t necessarily succeeding. It is winning. But what is the difference?
Merriam-Webster defines success as a favourable or desired outcome and the attainment of wealth, favour, eminence, but if you look at this definition critically, is that truly what success means?
We can aim to be the best we can be, and that is something we can control. But if we get too concerned with things that are out of our control – this will affect our own results. Winning involves other people we have zero control over; if we start trying to influence their results, as well as our own, then we achieve less ourselves. You succeed the moment you know you have done the best you can do… to win.
Would then, a definition proposed by basketball coach John Wooden not be more fitting? According to Wooden, success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable. If you do make the effort to do the best of which you’re capable, trying to improve the situation that exists for you, that’s success, and others cannot judge that, as they might do when you win or lose in a competition. It’s like the difference between character and reputation — your reputation is what you’re perceived to be; your character is what you really are. Isn’t your character the more important of the two?
Three simple rules that will help you in this regard are “Don’t be late”, “In work and life – be tidy” and “Don’t criticize your teammates”. If you start on time, you can spend more of it improving your work, and if you finish on time – you can spend it with your loved ones, having fun, or resting. If you are tidy – you will leave a good impression of yourself and the work you have done, on yourself and on your colleagues. And suggestions from teammates on improvements are great, but critiquing work is the job of the leader, not the teammate.
If you and your team regularly make the effort to do the best work you can, the results you achieve will be around what they should be. Winning is a by-product of succeeding, of putting in the effort. A very pleasant by-product, but a by-product none the less. Do what you do, don’t listen to others who try to discourage you, and do the best you can. It will pay off.