Play to Win, or You Will Lose: The 5-Minute Winning Mindset

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I recently had the great opportunity to spend a little time with Coach Dan Gable. Coach Gable is undoubtedly the greatest wrestling coach of all time. In fact, when John Wooden and Dan Gable met at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Coach Wooden told Coach Gable that he believed Gable was the greatest coach of any sport of all time.

It only took me a few minutes (possibly even seconds) with Coach Gable to realize that he is a FANATIC about winning. He hates losing.

Understanding the FANATIC mindset is extremely important for high-level success. Gable clearly makes the point that you must “play to win. Never play to tie.”

“Playing to tie” is generally not a conscious decision. Frankly, it’s closer to no decision at all. Unless a decision is made to “win” today, the mindset is by default not aggressive. More than likely, your norm is to “play to tie.” Human behavior has a way of settling into the easiest option–the least amount of work to get by. This is not always a bad thing, as you have a limited capacity and can only expend so much energy throughout a given day. Unless we make the conscious decision not to do so, however, we will always take the path of least resistance. One thing I have learned is that the road to success has resistance. You must make the choice to put forth extra effort.

You must DECIDE to win. When is the last time you had a goal of “winning” for the day?

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The greats have a winning mindset. They do not settle for just “getting by.” While it may seem unattainable, the mental toughness of the extremely successful is something that can be learned. Just as lifting weights in the gym cannot help but make you stronger, working on your mental strength cannot help but make you more mentally tough.

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Develop the Winning Mindset in just five minutes per day.

Set aside five minutes each day for your “Winning Mindset.” For that five minutes, choose one thing to ATTACK. For example, working out, making proactive contacts, prospecting, studying, or anything that is important for your personal or professional growth. For five minutes, be FANATIC about that one thing.

Just five minutes per day of focusing on winning in one area will have a significant impact on your mental toughness and your success. “Playing to win” is how you become great.

Someone recently asked Dan Gable what he wanted to be remembered for in his life. His answer: “I haven’t done it yet.” Even given all his accomplishments to date, he refuses to accept an easy road.

Remember, play to win, or you will lose.



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