Sunday, May 25, 2014

Play to Win

I remember watching football games growing up, only to see teams lose a game because they decided to play it safe and go into "prevent defense" mode. It was funny hearing the announcers say, the only thing that "prevent defense" does is prevent you from winning. I never understood that comment because as an avid video game player (when I was younger), I would always choose the "prevent defense" mode and most of the time it worked. But as I had gotten older, it all began to make sense. What prevent defense does is it only prevents the big, deep pass, but it leaves the middle susceptible to exploitation. Eventually, all you have to do was to keep marching up the field until you were in striking distance. I learned that defense wins games but being on the defensive doesn't.

When I am defensive on the baseball field, the odds of success are not in my favor. Imagine being up at the plate, and you are swinging the bat trying not to strike out. What eventually happens is that you strike out, because of the old saying that trying not to do something surely ensures that you will end up doing it. But when you are in attack mode, you are taking the game in your hands and are putting the pressure on the opposition. That is called playing to win. You can do a lot more when you are charging forward versus when you are on your heels backing up.

In sports they teach us to play to win, instead of playing not to lose. And in life, we must take the same approach. I remember my first year in college (Loyola Marymount) wondering why our baseball team never took risks - we rarely stole bases, and we played the game one base at a time. We didn't win a lot of games because we didn't put a lot of pressure on the other teams. We made them feel comfortable. Basically, we brought them their ice cold glasses of lemonade and let them rest their feet up on the foot stool. That's no way to win games.

Simply put, if we do not play to win in life, we won't win. It is difficult to be successful when we are backing up and too often we are being defensive with our own lives. In many cases we are not living; we are just getting by. It is not enough to just be in the game, but instead to be competitive.

Take control of the game. Take control of your life. PLAY TO WIN
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