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“Are You Playing to Win……or Playing Not to Lose!” On this adventure of life, what is the game you’re playing? The first and most common game is ‘Playing Not to Lose’ – the second and more exciting, more daring, rarer game is ‘Playing to Win’! Which game are you playing both personally and professionally? Let’s look at each of these games for a moment… Playing Not to Lose ‘Playing Not to Lose’ is ultimately about avoiding fear. However, saying that if you ask people if they experience fear in their personal or professional lives they will most likely tell you not. Here’s why… We are bright people, and most of us learnt long ago to avoid situations in which we fear. These could have been situations which we personally experienced, or situations we heard about through others. For example, you’ve had a long term relationship, you split up – now your mind creates an association of fear and pain with relationships. And so, there’s now a little voice inside your head which says to you ‘don’t go there again, don’t expose yourself, don’t step outside your comfort zone, and don’t expose yourself to that pain’. In many situations this makes eminent sense. ‘Playing Not to Lose’ is about avoiding situations where we might lose, fail, be emotionally hurt, or even be rejected. Our bodies have built in early warning systems that alert us to these kinds of situations, so that we can avoid them and thereby avoid experiencing fear. Here’s the critical part… Unfortunately, this early warning system often leaks over into other areas of our lives where we aren’t at true risk Playing to Win ‘Playing to Win’ is about consciously choosing not to automatically avoid situations in which we might fail, be embarrassed, or rejected. Why on earth would we consciously choose to do something that could lead to failure, rejection, embarrassment or even worse? Because our goal is to grow!


©livingyourfuture™ 2011 All rights reserved

‘Playing to win’ is about; engaging with life, stepping outside your comfort zone, taking calculated risks, learning to become comfortably uncomfortable, learning to thrive on the adventure of life and seeing the unknown as your friend not your foe… …It’s about being comfortable with uncertainty knowing that uncertainty is the catalyst for growth. ‘Playing to win’ means consciously choosing to experience those situations that will help us grow. Furthermore, it means going into those situations wholeheartedly, committed to going as far as we can with all that we have. A Conscious Choice… We choose to play not to lose because we believe our emotional survival is at stake. We choose to play to win in order to learn, grow and thrive. Although it’s not often that black and white, the critical moments of our lives and careers often come down to a choice between the two: -

Which are you going to choose today?


Are you going to consciously decide to play to win or play not to lose – both personally and professionally?

‘Playing to win’ definitely seems like the better game to me!


©livingyourfuture™ 2011 All rights reserved

Article 2 - Playing the Game  

What game are you playing professionally and personally?