Do you consider yourself a winner in life? If you’re not that confident to answer “Yes” to this question, then you may be struggling with some issues in different areas in your life. There is no one rule book that we can consult on how to succeed in life and this is because each person’s experience is different. However, there are some fundamentals for success that we can apply to get better in each area of our life, so that when we look back, we can say that we’ve had more wins than losses.
Jim Tressel is an Ohio State football coach and through the years he has learned a lot of life lessons from working with different people on the team, from the players to the staff. The nuggets of wisdom he gained from his experience is shared in the book The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life.
The book is given to everyone on the team and even if the lessons are gained mostly from his experience coaching a football team, the lessons are applicable even to regular 9-5 workers trying to be “adults” in dealing with life’s hurdles.
First, Jim wants everyone to focus on 2 major goal areas:
This includes your personal/family, spiritual/moral and caring/giving aspects of your life.
Many people often grow up defining themselves by what they do (e.g., their job title) and in the process of pursuing success in their career, they end up forgetting who they are. If you cannot find or define your life’s purpose, then you will never find success or happiness, and never feel like a true winner in life even if you achieve your goals.
This includes matters pertaining to strength/fitness, family, academics/education and career.
Whatever your specific goals, you must view this in the context of your entire life and should be aligned with your life’s purpose. It is hard to get motivated if you don’t have a purpose.
Your purpose is your inspiration and your goals are your motivation. However, there is a huge difference between the two. While inspiration helps you think and create, motivation gets you moving to make things happen.
Spend some time to think about your purpose and goals. It helps to write things down and when you are ready, you can study how to apply Jim’s 10 fundamental for success to win at life.
There are 3 types of people: 1) those who make things happen, 2) those who watch things happen, and 3) those who say: “What happened?”.
Attitude is a choice so you need to choose which one you are going to be each day. You can choose to live your life as a celebration or as a chore. An attitude of gratitude is one of the best attitudes to adapt as it is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies within yourself.– Tecumseh
TIP: Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down at least 3 things that you are grateful for. Count your blessings daily and you will notice that you will have more things to be grateful for as each day passes.
Discipline is often seen negatively – as punishment for bad behavior, when in reality, it is something that is helpful to us. Discipline prepares us and keeps us focused on our goals.
You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days that you feel good.– Jerry West
TIP: Remember that practice makes perfect. Do it right, do it hard and then do it again. When it’s time to practice, focus on the practice. You should be confident enough in your skills and be tough enough to follow through.
Whether you are practicing a sport or trying to write a novel, it’s the discipline to constantly show up and do the work that allows you to correct your mistakes, polish your moves so you can deliver and perform perfectly whenever you need to.
Strive to deliver excellence each time. In competitive sports, it isn’t good to be good from time to time. You need to deliver a good performance every day in order to be considered great
If you listen to your fears, you will die not knowing what a great person you might have been.– Robert H. Schuller
TIP: Consistency is the true test of greatness. It takes discipline (constant practice) to turn a violinist into a master, a student into an expert, you get the drift?
More importantly, our intentions have a great impact in determining how we reach our potential. So your intent to be excellent should be reflected in your performance. Your number one intention is to seek excellence in all phases of your life.
4. Faith and Belief
All champions believed in themselves even if no one else did and that’s how they motivated themselves to become great; and that’s how they ended up inspiring others in return.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.– Eleanor Roosevelt
TIP: It helps to write down your dreams. Unless you write down your dream or vision, you can’t start planning how to achieve it.
So write down your dreams, describe it, make a collage out of it and make sure to consult it everyday as a constant reminder of why you are working hard each day. More importantly, don’t be the first one to doubt yourself when your plans don’t go the way you wanted to. Instead, focus on finding a solution.
Work is a lifelong pursuit so you better do it passionately. Not everyone can love their work but with a good work ethic, you will increase your opportunities to gain success.
Everyone has a plan until they are hit.– Evander Holyfield
TIP: Persistent effort is key to success. You only fail when you quit. Remember that failing is an event; failure is a temporary status and you can always turn it around as soon as you succeed. So don’t be put down by obstacles and see them as opportunities to better yourself instead.
6. Handling Adversity and Success
The road to greatness is never easy but if we face our struggles with an attitude of learning, then the adversity we experience can become our stepping stones to success.
Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose.– Bill Gates
TIP: Embrace the struggles as much as the successes. Your struggles should help you build strength of character, and this is what can elevate your good performance into greatness. Handle adversity as a learning experience and learn from your success as well. Both are opportunities to improve yourself and fine tune your plans to reach your goals.
You won’t win in life thru talent alone. Just like in winning championships, you need love and discipline. If everyone in the team loves one another, then they will strive to not let one another down. This works in any relationship, be it you and your partner, your whole family, your friends and even work mates.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?– Martin Luther King, Jr.
TIP: Do not hesitate to help others succeed. When you help someone else succeed, you get closer to your own success.
How you treat others who can do nothing for you is how you show your love towards your fellow man. In your own relationships, you can only survive tough times by being tough yourself and the only way to do that is to give and receive love from those around you.
There are different areas in your life where your individual conduct is not just attributed to your own self but reflects on a larger group of people such as your family or the organization that you work for. So take care to be responsible in all your actions as you may also affect the reputation of other people.
The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.– Japanese Proverb
TIP: Associate yourself with good people. By good people, we mean people who have a “do what’s right” mentality. These are the people who will help you conduct yourself responsibly in the different areas in your life. They will be the people who will push you to live a life with a clear conscience.
Although your own life purpose and goals is yours alone, most of our life endeavors is a group journey. That’s why unselfishness and team work are important qualities to succeed in life.
There is no delight in owning anything unshared.– Seneca
TIP: Be in service to others. Unselfishness is one of the greatest quality of great teams as this enables each person to work for the good of the greater whole. This means that each person is willing to listen to others and in this way each one is able to influence the others positively.
Have realistic hope both for your goals and for your team (family, friends, etc.). It is ok to indulge in wishful thinking once in a while but unless you put your faith to work, you will not achieve success.
There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.– Orison Marden
TIP: Be a dealer of hope. When people around you are losing hope, they become susceptible to criticism and their own doubts. Lead by example and show them that hope is still alive. It may not be in the form you initially “hoped” for but it may take form in another opportunity disguised as an obstacle. When you keep hope alive, you will see good things happen in your life and in the people around you.
Do you think you can apply these rules to the different areas of your life? If you have been practicing some of them, or all of them, tell us how it has helped you achieve success in the different phases in your life.