Know Better – Do Better – Get Better

Tips & Tactics for Personal Development

Tag Archives: Winning too much

7 things you can do today to improve your life

If you are looking for some simple but effective ways to improve your life and feel better about what you do each day, try incorporating one of these actions into your daily routine:

1. Smile. Not only will others appreciate this, you’ll feel better as well!

2. Say “Please” and “Thank you” consistently – and be sincere. It’s good for you to recognize that others are helping you, and it’s also good for them to feel appreciated.

3. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. Don’t stare – this isn’t a contest. Look at them for a few seconds and then look away to one side. Don’t look down – it makes you look weak.

4. Use a person’s name when speaking to them. Don’t overdo this. Just remember that people like to hear their names. Adding their name now and then pleases them, helps them focus on what you are saying and makes them feel important.

5. Allow others to talk about what interests them without competing with them. Let them tell their stories without adding your comments about how your own experience might be similar or ever better. See the next point.

6. Stop trying to win all the time. Let others go in front of you in line when they are in a hurry. Let the rude drivers have their way – they’ll get their own reward. Winning may feel good, but too much of it will make you an unpleasant person.

7. Listen 2x longer than you usually do. If you usually listen to others only long enough to put together your own response, add an equal amount of time to think about whether your response is really appropriate. You can add value to a conversation with a little thought or a thoughtful question.

Real personal change comes from consistently applying a few tactics rather than trying to change your whole life all at once.


Do 1 thing different

New Year’s resolutions rarely last. Too often they are just nice ideas rather than actions that we can measure. So this year skip the list and choose 1 thing to DO differently. Focus on that 1 thing for 365 days, keep track of how often you do it successfully, and I’ll bet you will make more progress than if you had a list of good ideas as long as your arm.

My 1 thing for 2012? Letting other people shine, appreciating them for the talents they have, and learning from them, and not trying to top their ideas and experiences by offering one of mine in comparison.

And yes, I’ll be keeping score.

Happy 2012!

Winning too much will hurt you

We all like to win. We play to win. But sometimes trying too hard to win makes you a loser.

Ever hear yourself saying, “I’m not going to step to one side to let that person past. I shouldn’t have to move!”

How about, “I’m going to pull forward so that guy can’t cut in front of me!”

Or, “I was here first!”

Sounds pretty immature to me. Yet I’m as guilty of anyone else of participating in these juvenile internal conversations. I like feeling righteous and victimized.

Who doesn’t?

But do you admire people who think like this, or act in ways that reveal that they are thinking these kinds of thoughts? I don’t. I don’t even like myself when I catch myself thinking this way.

This is how winning too much can hurt you. It makes you do selfish but seemingly righteous things. It make you mean.

So when the stakes are low, let the other person have their way. They are not going to admire you for crossing them, but they just might be a little embarrassed when you are courteous to them despite their adolescent behavior..

Never be in a hurry to lose

No one likes losing. So why rush into situations where you may lose?

You say you don’t do this? I’ll bet you do.

Do you ever let your emotions – especially anger or pride – get the best of you?

Do you try to win arguments when in fact there is very little at stake?

Do you take a “stand” on issues and only back down when someone with more authority tells you to back off?

Do you become obsessed with reaching a specific goal in a hurry – and ignore other, more important tasks?

Do you like to tell people why their ideas won’t work?

When you do these things, you are setting yourself up to lose. You are daring people to find a way to kick your feet out from under you. And many will take you up on this dare.

So what can you do to prevent this? Here’s one trick I use:

When you are in situations where your emotions are getting away from you, ask yourself if what you are trying to accomplish will matter in 5 years. If it will make a difference, but all means go for it. But in my own experience there are exceptionally few instances where this is the case. We may like to think this is the case, but emotions distort our perspective. And when we are temporarily blinded by emotional stress, we can get stupid very quickly.

So give the situation 24 hours and see if you still feel as strongly about it. I’m willing to bet that your decisions after 24 hours will be much clearer.

It never pays to be in a hurry to lose. As one author said, “Hurry is not from the devil. Hurry is the devil.”

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