Winning attitude - key to personal success :Accept stress as normal | Sunday Observer

Winning attitude - key to personal success :Accept stress as normal

On 31December, last year, one of my young nieces told me, her only New Year resolution was to become a winner during 2017. I asked her, “Win what?”

Pat came her reply, “Everything! Sports, studies, friends, teachers, parents, all of them.”
Then I asked her, “Do you really know how to be a winner?”
Silently, she looked at me for a minute or so, and then said, “Why don’t you tell me?”
The following is what I told her.
Many years of reading the life stories of successful people - Olympic athletes, business executives, astronauts, Government leaders and others - I have come to realize, there is a fine line between them and the rest of the pack. I call this line the winner’s edge.
This edge is not the result of a privileged environment or having a high I.Q., a superior education or unusual talent. Nor, is it a matter of luck. The key to the winner’s edge, I have found, is attitude. There are many ingredients in a winning attitude, but the most important is being honest with yourself. To do this, you must follow these major precepts:

l. Assume responsibility for your actions.

In Buddhism, Karma refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). The Bible tells us that, as we sow, we reap. The meaning is the same: our rewards depend on the contributions we make. You yourself must take the credit or the blame for your action. Responsible people look at the shackles they’ve placed upon themselves and, in a moment of truth, declare their independence.
Kumar grew up in an unpleasant neighbourhood, became a teenage gang leader and served time in a reform Institute. Remembering a seventh-grade teacher’s confidence in his academic aptitude, he realized that, despite his poor high-school record, his only hope for success was through education. While doing a manual job, he joined a low-cost private tutory, did his GCE O/Ls, joined NAITA and obtained a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) certificate and 3 years later ended up with a degree level qualification in Plumbing. He is now working in a premium company as a plumbing engineer. None of this would have happened if Kumar had not had the courage to alter his destiny.
2. Find your own gifts; follow your own goals.
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius tells his son: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Polonius was advising his son to live in accordance with his own deepest convictions and abilities - daring to be different, while respecting the rights of others.
Most of us, however, find ourselves in a quandary. How do we really want to spend our lives? How do we know we have selected the right career or the proper goals? My research and experience corroborate the importance of learning what we are “good at,” rather than letting parents, teachers, friends or economics make our long-range plans for us.
I advise all parents to introduce their children to a wide mix of educational-cultural activities to stimulate their interests and help them identify possible vocations and careers. The parents must make it a primary goal to help their children discover the inherent gifts so they can blend these with acquired skills and knowledge to achieve maximum fulfillment.
3. Don’t escape, adapt.
The key to success, to mental and physical health, is adaptability. Under pressure, many of us become depressed, lose our incentive and excitement about life. We tend to drink more, smoke more or rely on tranquilizers to help us cope. While alcohol and other anti-anxiety drugs temporarily reduce emotional reactions to threats of pain or failure, they also interfere with our ability to learn to tolerate these stresses.
One of the best ways to adapt to the many stresses of life is to simply accept them as normal. The adversity and failures in our lives, if we view them as corrective feedback, serve to develop in us an immunity against the adverse responses to stress.
John Gardner, in his book, Self- Renewal, states, the winners in life do not leave their growth to chance. They pursue it by carrying on an endless dialogue between their potentialities and the claims on their lives.
4. Never, ever give up.
Do not be discouraged by rejections and setbacks. If we are alive, we still can have hope to win. Failures are not insurmountable obstacles, but the steppingstone to success.
KFC founder, Colonel Sanders failed 1,000 times before he got a yes; China’s hero Dr. Sun Yat Sen failed in his revolution 10 times before winning in his 11th attempt in 1911. Abraham Lincoln lost in love, failed twice in business and lost eight elections before becoming the greatest US president.
A love story is not exciting if there are no problems and the girl just says ‘yes’ in a few days - then there wouldn’t be a movie like Titanic, which lasts over three hours! Success hard-earned, is more exciting!
5. That which cannot destroy us makes us stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche famously said: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” The Chinese word for crisis is wei-ji, made up of two characters —wei meaning “danger” and ji meaning “opportunity.” Crisis can either strengthen us or destroy us, depending on our attitude.
6. Burn all the boats.
This is quite drastic, but I just must cite it too, as a technique, by taking out all other options, except victory. There is an ancient Chinese saying “Break the kettles and sink the boats.” This was General Xiang Yu’s order at the Battle of Julu (207 BC); by fording a river and destroying all means of re-crossing it, he thereby committed his army of soldiers (including himself) to fight to the bitter end against the Qin kingdom or else die, and he won a stunning victory..
In developing our critical attitudes for success, we must recognize there is more freedom in society than ever before and more opportunity to express one’s talents and opinions. Those who feel they are forced to do things or to escape, are not in control of their lives. Winners take the talent or potential they were born with and use it fully toward the purpose that makes them feel worthwhile. In short, losers let life happen to them; winners make it happen.

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