There are some people who know things long before science catches up. They are at the rock face, so survival means they find a way to figure it out.
Take public speaking. If you want to know how to do that well, talk to a comedian. Comedians depend on their public speaking skills, more than anyone else.
It’s not enough for a comic to just say stuff. They have to say it so well that it guarantees a reaction in their audience.
They study the rhythm and percussion of language in ways that most speakers don’t ever need to.
The same with persuasion. Go and talk to an advertising executive, or someone who writes sales letters for a living. If they don’t understand persuasion they’re out of a job.
So they figure it out. They study the intricacies of why this sentence is more persuasive than that one. They have to.
If you want an expert at directing your attention to wherever they want it to go, find a street magician.
If a magician can’t direct your attention, you’d see the trick. It wouldn’t be magic anymore. So a magician becomes an expert in it.
Every area of life has its own necessary expertise. Just to carry on, they must focus on it in ways that the rest of us can happily overlook.
When it comes to winning, go to a sports person. What happens to a coach whose team don’t win? They get fired. Sports coaches spend all their time studying how best to win.
Watch any sports event and you’ll find coaches as pundits. You’ll eventually hear them say the same phrase, whatever the sport.
“Winning is a habit.”
When a team goes on a winning streak, they gain a confidence that makes their next win more likely. They claim the identity of winner.
And winners win. They expect it. They prepare for it. They are optimistic about it.
When we want to win at life (and who doesn’t), we too must develop a habit of winning.
How do we do that? By starting small. Small enough that it is a guaranteed win.
When you set your next goal, you get to decide what counts as a win. So here’s how:
- Make that goal something different to how things usually are. It won’t feel like a win if you simply repeat today. There needs to be some growth built in.
- But also make it something that you know, with absolute certainty, that you can do.
It will probably be a long way off the change you ultimately want. But that’s okay. Be patient with yourself.
The point here is to develop the habit of winning. To become the person who shows up each day and wins. To become the one who thinks of yourself and knows that “I’m a winner.”
Each day that you win, set a fresh goal. One that again has a little growth built in, but only a little. Every step forward still needs to be one that you can do.
On the rare moments that you don’t make it, go back to the last win that you had and repeat that. Get back into the winning habit.
Every time you do win, move it forward a notch.
We usually try to make x be the habit. We try to show up each day and do the arduous x (whatever that is). Then we feel miserable if we can’t do it. We set ourselves up to fail. Then we give up.
But x, whatever that is, is not the habit to cultivate.
Winning is the habit.
Start small. Choose something you know you can achieve. Make winning become your habit.
See what difference it makes.Alun Parry is Director of The Liverpool Psychotherapy Practice