Winner and Losers

Have great answers to better questions. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

Photo courtesy of Philo Nordlund on Flickr

In the Middle Ages, the king was the winner. He lived in a castle with legions of servants who brought him the best food and wine.

The king didn’t have air conditioning or aspirin or deodorant or a smart phone. You probably wouldn’t trade places with him, because his quality of life was quite low by the standard you enjoy.

However, he lived a much better life than the people around him, and everyone knew it.

That’s how the king won.

Imagine that you live in a mansion, and that you have a million dollars. It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Again, the life of a winner.

But now imagine that everyone you know has 5 million dollars and a much bigger mansion than yours.

Suddenly, you’re not the winner anymore.

Comparing ourselves and our fortunes to the character and lives of others leads inexorably to a world of winners and losers.

The winner finishes first and takes the prize. Everyone else is a loser.

If the world is really about winning and losing in this simplistic way, the truth is that most of us are losers.

And, yet, the lives of the “losers” today are objectively better than the life of a Medieval king. And the king was a winner.

Today’s winner will be tomorrow’s loser, because even if he doesn’t change the world around him will.

Winning like a king is arbitrary, not absolute. It’s a made-up thing.

To win at baseball, you must score more runs than your opponent. Baseball is a made-up game with made-up rules.

Life is not baseball.

If you compare yourself to others, you’re not living your life—you’re living theirs. Or, rather, you’re trying to live their lives, but in a bigger, better way.

Winning is important. No one wants to be a loser. The question “What does it mean to live a ‘winning’ life?” is a good question.

Unfortunately, the world gives us many bad answers.

Winning at life begins with asking good questions and finding good answers.

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