• Eve Arnold

How to Create a Winner’s Mindset Before Winning

A winner’s mindset before actually winning.

Before holding the trophy, it’s hard to have the confidence that you’re going anywhere. Here and there sure there are signs that maybe you’ll make it out as successful as you wanted to be but more often than not, you are blind to your upcoming success.

Often you aren’t sure whether you’re winning, losing or drawing. Most of the time you don’t know where you sit, you’re just hoping this is the right way to do things.

Added to that, it can be quite hard to visualise yourself winning, to have a winner’s mindset. To really visualise getting to where you want to go. Sometimes it’s just easier to reside yourself to the idea that we will be bog-standard forever. That’s your life, bog-standard. Sure you might get a nice car eventually and yeah maybe you’ll get a nice house. But you won’t reach our dreams.

  1. We probably won’t become a best-selling author;

  2. We probably won’t go viral;

  3. We probably will just be another person who didn’t make it.

When you start to think like this it’s easy to talk yourself into not trying because ultimately, what’s the point?

Well, what if you worked as if you’ve already won? What if you told yourself you’d just published a New York Times best-selling novel and now you’ve got a fan base of over 1 million people waiting for your next book?

What would you do then?

The Early Stages of Anything

It’s easy to sit in awe of the people our age or worse, younger, who are successful. They haven’t just surpassed expectations they’ve taken a sledgehammer and knocked them out of the park, which feels great for them.

Not so good for you.

You try and tell yourself that life isn’t about other people, it’s about you and you should only compare yourself to yourself but on a bad day, the doubt sets in. You find yourself questioning everything you’ve done so far, you start to think that maybe the fact you’ve not heard back from the last 9 jobs you’ve applied for is a sign that you will never be a success. You start to think that you need a second go-round at this life thing, so you can get it right this time.

But what if that’s wrong. What if you’re not lost at all.

“You’re not lost you’re just early”

We fall victim to thinking our lives are over before they’ve even started so we wallow in defeat but it’s not even half time. It’s the equivalent to giving up in the 10th minute of football because someone’s just scored a goal.

Now is the time to go on the attack, not act like you’ve been defeated.

We can easily fall into the trap of thinking we’re not going to make it and to be honest, I think that’s why so many people don’t. You try for a few months, you think you’ve put the effort in that’s required and you deduce after getting no results that you merely are not up for the challenge.

You are not good enough.

This idea of not being good enough. Well, it’s quite fascinating. Are we really not good enough? Or is it a misaligned expectation that leads us to think we’re not good enough?

How long does it really take people to get good enough? How many people are actually overnight successes? How do you know when to give up and when to keep going?

What if you found out that every winner you love and admire failed 20 times before they won? What if you learnt that being successful requires you to fail, often? What would that mean for your mindset?

Then how would you look at your failures?

The Argument for Never Giving Up

There is probably a whole field of science dedicated to understanding how likely you are to be successful. Based on your genetic makeup, mindset, practice rate etc.

However, I don’t want to go into that because I want to argue that whatever the science says, you shouldn’t give up.

Let’s look at the benefits of having a goal, even if you don’t reach it:

  1. Gives you something to focus on;

  2. Teaches you the discipline of routine and practice;

  3. Builds your confidence in going after the things you want;

  4. You’ll get some results (even if they’re not the ones you want);

  5. It gives you purpose.

Paul Doolan, the lecturer of Economics at the London School of Economics and the author of ‘Happiness by Design’ argues that our happiness is made up of two things: pleasure and purpose. So even if you don’t obtain your goal, as long as you have pleasure and purpose of pursuing this goal of yours, you’ll be happy. And happiness is most people’s goal anyway.

Sometimes we get hung up on numbers, our whole lives can turn into numbers if you let it:

  1. Number of followers on social media;

  2. Number of $ in your bank account;

  3. The number of friends.

There is no number (that I know of) that dictates how much you actually enjoy your life. All the numbers we create around our goals should be arbitrary, they are just a number, they are not the number. Why does it matter if you x10 the income you make now or x5 it. If you’re doing something you love you’re going to be motivated enough to continue doing it for a good while, so you’ll make enough over the long run.

Find love for the process, that’s what winners do. They realise there is always something else, another trophy to win another number to chase, instead they focus on their process.

Realise How Much It Actually Takes for the Right Mindset

When you think about your dream life, how much would it really take to fulfil all the things you want? Most people want a nice house, a nice car and to do something they love.

That isn’t that expensive.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s expensive enough but sometimes I feel that we fall into this trap of feeling like we need to make £10s millions before we can relax, as if at £10 million you’d be happy. And that might be the case, but there is also an argument to say that you’d probably be quite happy and comfortable with £100,000.

Which is 1% of £10 million.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t dream — of course, you should. Hope one of the most incredible emotions you can feel. What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t feel like you haven’t made it if you don’t end up smashing every single one of your goals. Your goals are probably fairly audacious anyway. And so they should be.

What I’m really trying to say is that the prospect of not knocking the socks off your goals shouldn’t stop you from pursuing them.

Your dreams should be scary but you shouldn’t be scared of them. I.e. you shouldn’t feel daunted by them, so much so that you give up if there is the slightest indications that you aren’t going to make it.

It’s the pursuit that’s important not getting there.

And at the end of the day, it doesn’t take that much money to live a good life. Some decent food, a nice place to live, good people in your life. All of that doesn’t cost too much.

The Benefits of Having a Winner’s Mindset

In many respects, we’re all trying to get to this one utopia. If we can just get 50k subscribers or earn £100,000 every year, then we can say we’ve made it.

The truth though, is that once you hit a goal, you’ll create a new one. It’s just human nature we always want to improve.

No matter how far you’ll get, give it a few months, you’ll be creating new goals.

That’s because it’s the creation of the goal that drives us, not the goal itself. Who actually really cares if you get 50,000,100,000,200,000 subscribers, it’s the game that’s the interesting part.

The benefits of thinking you’ve already won are that you can think like you have whilst pursuing it.

On a Final Note on Mindset

So what if you don’t achieve great success if you don’t end up being James Patterson living seaside and writing all day. So what. You don’t need to only measure success by 0.1%, you can also have what you want by being in the 10%.

You don’t need to get to your goals to be happy, you need to pursue something that you find meaningful and if you do, the sole pursuit will give you enough purpose to override any external gratification anyway.

What if you had a winner’s mindset before winning?

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