“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game.” –Michael Jordan
If you aren’t playing to win, what’s the point in playing the game? I’m a believer in the idea that how we do anything is how we do everything. If you give it your all 100% of the time while playing or practicing your sport, this way of operating will spill over into the rest of your LIFE and you will find yourself fully living a rich life when you give 100% all the time. It’s hard to be a winner if we go half-heartedly into anything. It takes full-blown commitment, enthusiasm and belief that winning is the only option in order to continuously grow and progress in a game or in the game of life. This concept of “winning being the only option” can seem like anything else is a failure, but as Michael Jordan says, “I can accept failure but I cannot accept not trying.” Those who are willing to put in 100% without regard to the outcome and continue to move forward even through a failure or a loss will truly succeed at the end of the day.
An incredible coach of mine once told me that our hearts were meant to break. He said our hearts were meant to break open over and over again, to open to the wonder and joy that life has to offer. He didn’t just mean heartbreak in the sense of love, but in everything that we do. Often times, we are afraid to go into something full force because we are afraid of getting hurt. If we put our entire heart, every part of our being into winning the game, we will find a loss does hurt much more than if we know we didn’t really give it all we have. Think about a game that you have played, or watched, and you can see the blood, sweat, tears and heart that the athletes are putting into their game. The effort they are putting in is so strong that it can almost be felt, even through a TV. If those athletes end up losing, you can feel their heartbreak and pain and see it all over their faces. It almost makes your own heart break thinking about what they gave, only to come up short of winning at the end. Now think about a team that’s playing hard, but it’s apparent that there is no heart behind the motions. When this team loses, you get the sense that they didn’t expect to win and it is clear that they aren’t too hurt by the loss. Two totally different games, right?
When we give it all we have, even if the outcome ends in heartbreak, that heartbreak opens us up to being stronger and more powerful for the next game. If we close off and don’t play full out, we may never experience the terrible heartbreak of a loss. We will also never experience the incredible joy that comes from a win where every player on the team has given everything they have, their whole heart to the game.
The tragedy is not the loss; the real tragedy is what we leave inside of us at the end of the day.