Critical Thinking Session

Why do we always try to win?

    We've been raised to compete and win in society. Of course, it depends on what kind of environment you were brought up, but at least, nobody appreciate losing. We feel great when we win any kind of race or competition, and that feeling comes from our instinct that craves to be superior to others.


    You may say that's not the case for you, but what if there're somebody who compares himself or herself to you and say, "I'm happy that I'm better than you." Do you think you can keep smiling and think of the person as your good friend? Well, I'm sure nobody can do that, because we are all social beings that mind how other people treat us.


    I, too, have this attribute. I want to become smart and attractive, strong and rich, and I want to be respected. I want to lead others rather than following them, and I also want to make my life a special thing. And I know this comes from the idea that I can win in my life. When I was a little kid, my parents told me that I was chosen by God to live following his way, and I grew up believing that I was somehow special.


    However, I didn't win most of the times. I liked drawing and I believed that I was talented, but I couldn't win many awards like my sister did, and I knew my talent wasn't good enough compared to those who are called genius. I also liked singing and I had a distinctly beautiful soprano voice, but my advantage was lost as my voice started to break when I was 14. I started playing soccer at the age of 6, and I thought that I was very talented until I met someone who destroyed my confidence. I was quite a smart kid until I took physics class in high school. I noticed that the other students in the class were much smarter than I was, and I dropped the class in a few months. I started playing the guitar at the age of 15, and I wanted to become a professional singer-songwriter. However, I couldn't go higher than calling it my hobby.


    You may feel as if I had lived as a sore loser, but that's not necessarily true. I came close to the top among a small community in several activities, and then I did imagine myself becoming the top. And those times were where I faced someone super talented than I was, and I ended up tasting the bitterness of my inferiority complex. As I continued this cycle, I learned that my portfolio was somehow distinctive. I wasn't the top at one field, but, as a whole, I had something that I could call a confidence. And it was a guarantee that even when nobody had my back, I would always stand for myself.


    Yes, after all, I had developed confidence and competitiveness along with lots of efforts to become the top. And, finally, at the age of 25, I found something I could top: sales job. When I devastated other talented and experienced sales people in one of the most well-known sales company in Japan, I finally knew that it was where I could rule, and I did!


    Long story short, I ended up losing again after started up my own business. My confidence shattered, and I had to go through years of dark tunnel after that. It was dark and stressful, but I now know I couldn't become myself without that experience. I was finally unleashed from the obsession of winning while keeping the level of my confidence and self-respect high.


    When you try to top others, you have to be one at the top among tens of people first, and then the number goes to hundreds, thousands, and more. It is unlikely that you can become the top of the world at any field, because the winner is just one who takes all and the rest of the people cannot get that position. What's really important is to know how to lose wisely, keeping your portfolio attractive enough.


1. Winning or losing, which experiences have you had more?


2. How did you bounce back from a setback?


3. Why do you think we all hate to lose?

Writer : David Yasui, Organizer of SoC