When looking at your future, you can expect failure or success. You can predict the worst, or plan for the best. But no matter what you're anticipating - or fearing - it hasn't happened yet.
Which means there's still time to change the outcome.
There will be times when you want to give up. When winning seems impossible. But do not give up.
Your future isn't set in stone. Outcomes aren't predetermined. You have just as much chance of winning, as you do losing.
Life Doesn't Keep a Scoreboard of Winners and Losers
When you're ready to give up, or you think winning is impossible, what scoreboard are you using? What game are you playing?
Life doesn't have a scoreboard of its own. It doesn't say that one person must win, while everyone else must lose. Humans do.
We're always comparing ourselves. We're always looking for who we "think" is winning. We create imaginary scoreboards to tell us how we compare with everyone else.
That's because we grow up participating in competitions and contests. We learn that there's a number one, and then the rest. We're indoctrinated that second place is the first place loser.
And we think life works the same way. But it doesn't.
Most of the time, there is no competition to win or lose. We just think there is because we're used to comparing ourselves, and so we create one in our own mind.
If You Create a Scoreboard, Make it Realistic
When we feel we're losing, it's often because we're chasing a scoreboard of own creation. And that scoreboard is often nothing more than a camouflaged comparison to someone else.
- I will build the next Facebook.
- I will retire by 30.
- I will be the next J. K. Rowling.
Listen: Goals are great. Expectations are motivating. Scoreboards keep us moving.
Just make sure to keep a heavy dose of reality and understand that your scoreboard is your own creation. No one else is looking at your scoreboard, or even knows it exists.
So don't set yourself up to fail. Make it realistic. Give yourself permission to win at your own game.
Don't lose by playing the comparison game.
Be Forgiving of Yourself
I'm a big believer in giving yourself the permission to take chances without the fear of failure. That's because most of what we consider failure, is missing our own expectations.
So your startup didn't work out, you're not retired, and you're 40. Big deal.
Are you better today than you were yesterday? Did you learn and grow? Are you still in the game?
If so, put a mark in the win column and move on.
Celebrate the Victories (Even the Little Ones)
Yes, you can celebrate the little victories. After all, you created the scoreboard. That means you created the game. It also means you control the rules.
If the old adage is true, and winning begets winning, why not set yourself up to win as much as possible? Why not give yourself the biggest chance of success? Why not create a state of continual motivation because you're always winning?
Of course, you could keep beating yourself up for missing a mark on an unrealistic scoreboard that only you know exists.
Your call, but I choose to win.