The year was 1924. The Olympics were being held in Paris. The award-winning film, Chariots of Fire, portrays the fascinating story of two of the runners, Harold Abrahams, a Jewish student, and Eric Liddell, a Scot. Both were determined to win.
Abrahams was running for his people. Liddell for his religious convictions.
Both gave it everything they had. Both won.
However, they weren't winners because they won. They won because they were winners.
All people are either winners, losers or a mixture of both. But everybody can be a winner if he or she really wants to be.
First, the first principle to appreciate is that winning is a goal. One thing is certain, winners always have a specific goal for which they are striving. To them, winning is the ability to embrace a worthwhile goal and then employ all of their powers for the achievement of that goal.
So, if you want to be a winner, have a specific goal for your life. What do you really want to achieve with your life? Be honest. Make that your goal. Write it down, giving yourself a reasonable time to reach it. Go over your goal every day. Visualize it as having already been reached. Close your eyes and picture it done. This will help get your goal deep into your subconscious mind, where you will unlock the incredible resources of your inner self to help you achieve that on which you have set your heart.
Second, winning is a philosophy, and your philosophy, simply put, is your system of beliefs. Among other things, you need to believe in yourself as well as your cause.
If you believe in yourself—that you can win—you can. If you don't, you can't.
As one person put it, "To be ambitious for wealth, and yet always expecting to be poor; to be always doubting your ability to get what you long for is like trying to reach east by traveling west. There is no philosophy which will help a man succeed when he is always doubting his ability to do so, and thus attracting failure. No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors, and make success impossible.
You also need to believe in your cause. If you don't, nobody else will either.
Several years ago, Marjorie Jackson, an Australian Olympic runner, was devastated by the fact that her husband had leukemia. She said, "His suffering was terrible and I lost faith in God."
After his death, however, she not only found new faith but also new purpose in life. Describing her experience, she said, "Pete died, and I sat at his bedside holding him. Then a miracle happened, for a great peace enfolded me. I felt the presence of God all around me. I was so calm, I knew that Peter was out of pain, and that he was with God whom he loved and trusted.
"I felt that God had allowed me to share this suffering for a purpose. Then I asked him to show me what I could do."
She began the Peter Nelson Leukemia Research Foundation, which is dedicated to raising funds to help find a cure for leukemia.
Third, winning is an attitude, your attitude being how you feel about what you believe in. This provides motivation.
In their book, Born to Win, Muriel James and Dorothy Jongward explain how winning is a state of mind—and attitude.
"Winners are not afraid to go after what they want, but they do so in appropriate ways. Winners do not get their security by controlling others. They do not set themselves up to lose.
"Winners throw off unrealistic self-images of inferiority or superiority.
"Winners may lose ground occasionally and may even fail. Yet, in spite of setbacks, winners maintain a basic self-confidence. For them achievement is not the most important thing. Authenticity is."
In other words, being real is winning. When people are real—that is, honest with themselves and see their true potential as well as their weaknesses—they can be freed to achieve their goals for the right purpose. Instead of being driven by false motives and unconscious needs, they can take control of their lives and destinies. Regardless of backgrounds, full responsibility can be taken for who they become and what they do. That is what makes each person a winner.
Winners know and resolve their past. They live in the present. They plan for the future. And regardless of failures, they always get up,start again, and never give up.
Finally, winning is a way of life—a way of life that calls for action. It is what you do about achieving your goals.
When Abrahams once lost a race to Liddell, he was so discouraged he wanted to quit. He blurted out to his lady friend, "I run to win. If I don't win, I don't run."
"And if you don't run, you won't win," his friend angrily replied.
He ran again. And won.
The point is, "Quitters never win and winners never quit." Winners don't watch things happen. They make them happen.
So, if you want to be a winner, begin today by writing down your goals. Then start working towards their fulfillment immediately. Beginning is the hard part. But once you've begun, you're already half done. Then work towards achieving your goals just one step at a time. As it has been said before, "Inch by inch anything's a cinch—but yard by yard it's miles too hard!"
And remember, even the longest race is run only one step at a time.
And if you want to be a real winner, make sure your goals are in harmony with God's will for your life. He wants you to reach your total potential and become a true winner.
Winning is like God said to Joshua hundreds of years ago: "I have given you the promised land. It's yours for the taking, but you must rise, go and possess it for yourself."
That's what God says to each of us today. "I have a plan for your life. I have a potential for you to reach. I will give you good success, too, if you will follow me. I have the gift of forgiveness of sins, and the gift of eternal life for you. All of these are yours for the taking. But you need to respond to my call, arise and claim them for yourself."
The beginning step is to pray, "Dear God, I want to be a winner on your team. I want to discover your purpose and goal for my life. I respond to your call to follow you. I commit my life to you and trust you to lead me in each step I take."
Commit and trust your life to God every day and you, too, will be a winner. As Solomon wrote in Proverbs: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." 1
1. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV).