Everyone wants to win; it feels good! When you win, dopamine is released and hits the reward network of the brain. Your brain celebrates while you create a narrative and story around why and how you won. You deserve the win, you worked hard, you sacrificed, and you conquered.
But what did you win, and did the game matter? Were you playing for you, or did you play only to win against whoever is outdoing you and winning at life more than you? What was the cost of playing, and what was the cost of winning?
Did you win your local tennis tournament because you played down a skill level when you should have played up so you would have been pushed to the limit, stretched, and tested? Did you give up the more significant, long-term win of becoming better and seeking improvement over playing individuals who were lesser opponents?
Do you want to win at making more money than your neighbor? (That will show them how smart, hard-working, and valuable you are.)
Do you want to win at securing power, authority, or promotion over your counterparts? (Only the best are promoted, of course!)
Do you want to win the argument to prove the point you were right? (Once your loved one realizes you are right, they will beg you for forgiveness, cook your dinner, and beg to rub your feet.)
Do you want to win at a game you can never win? That way, you can’t blame yourself for not accomplishing what you should have five years ago?
The key to a big win is playing a game that matters to you. Not to your parents, your spouse, your significant other, and especially not to people who don’t notice you as much as you think they do. They are busy trying to win themselves.
I have won at things that mattered to everyone but me. Unfortunately, I gave too much time, energy, and soul, never asking if the win was important or worth it to me. It makes me sick thinking about it.
Take a moment to look at the games you are playing right now. Why are you playing them and are they worth it? Odds are you might need to change the game.
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