In an ideal world, you would never lose. Winning would be easy and losing would be a figment of the imagination. Unfortunately, we can only dream about that kind of world. Instead, losing is a reality which makes winning that much more important. In the past month or so I have heard ramblings about how great LeBron James is and how he and Kobe Bryant were destined for a classic NBA finals which would be remembered for all times. Instead, Nike is pulling their Kobe/LeBron commercials faster than Isiah Thomas is being forgotten, and LeBron is getting ready for a long summer. With LeBron unable to make it to the NBA finals, the rumor mill is starting to gain momentum. While there are still those that talk about how great LeBron is, the fact remains that LeBron has won nothing.
With Cleveland unable to make it to the NBA finals comes a new set of problems. With LeBron able to opt out of his contract next summer, Cleveland is in the position to lose one of the greatest superstars because they weren’t able to do one thing: win. People often like to quote the popular statement “Winning isn’t everything,” but what people fail to realize is the whole quote:
Men, I’ll be honest. Winning isn’t everything. Men, it’s the only thing! — Henry Russel Sanders
It is ironic that a quote that so many people use to console those who have lost is actually part of a quote meant to instill the idea that winning is the only option and that it’s all that matters.
The Emotions Of Winning
Laughter, Smiling, Crying. These are all emotions that you see when someone wins something. While winning is as much a physical test as it is a mental test, winning is also an emotional test. One image that I will always remember from watching sports is the 91′ NBA Finals when Michael Jordan was crying while holding the NBA Finals trophy. The emotions that winning can produce can only be described as pure. Pure in the sense that it is unpredictable, untainted, and inevitable.
Athletes like LeBron James, who have yet to win a championship, aren’t able to say that they have felt the true emotions of winning it all. While they may have experienced the joy of winning a game, winning the ‘big one’ is on a whole different level.
Win And We Forget The Past
Something that comes along with winning is the luxury of others forgetting your faults. To understand this concept it is helpful to look at some prime examples. While many people may see Michael Jordan as the epitome of the star athlete, many forget that Michael Jordan committed adultery that included a long PR battle over blackmail. While this news made headlines, people quickly dismissed it as Jordan continued to pile up the wins. Another example that we can look at is Dennis Rodman. Everyone knows of his on and off the court antics as well as his colorful personality, but what people will also remember is his performance on the court and how he helped the Bulls to a championship and helped them achieve one of the best winning records in NBA history. Imagine what people would remember if Dennis didn’t win a championship. The bad parts of his career would be magnified and would overshadow all the good he did and was.
Winning doesn’t have to be just in sports. The same can go for the business world. A CEO that had a bad past can make it all go away by leading a company into prosperity. The same idea works two ways in that a CEO can also make others questions his leadership if the company heads downhill.
Giving Your Best Doesn’t Make You A Winner
I have no doubt in my mind that LeBron James gave it his best, but what it comes down to is that his best wasn’t good enough. Sometimes your best just doesn’t make you a winner. Their are factors that you just can’t control. In the case of sports, you rely on your teammates to support you. Therefore, it is important that you surround yourself in the ideal situation where you can be successful and be a winner. Whether it’s in the workplace or just among your friends, who you are with is just important as how bad you want to win.
Winning will make most problems disappear, while losing will make them get bigger. If you don’t believe me, just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers. I am a firm believer that while you can learn from your losses, you can learn even more from your wins.
As Sean Connery once said:
Your best? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and f*ck the prom queen.
Photo by JBM216