It’s not often that we dwell on the critical action that helps us when we execute a win. But we sure do spend a lot of time analyzing, scrutinizing and agonizing over the critical mistakes we make when we lose. We can often pinpoint the exact moment that things went south. We get caught up in the things we could have done differently, said differently and we start to examine the signs we might have missed that would have warned us of our pending failure. In short, we learn a lot more from failure than we do from wins.
Winning will build confidence and belief in our potential as we experience that positive results from our efforts and plans. We will take on greater challenges as long as things are going well. Every time we win, we unconsciously store away the thought and action patterns that secured the positive result. The key here is that we do this unconsciously. Really, we win a lot every day. We win getting out of bed, unless we fall out; and chances are, that’s not very often. We win getting dressed, save the occasional backwards shirt or inside out item. We don’t take time analyze and evaluate all of the things we did properly to get the positive outcome. We store these patterns because they aren’t interrupted and corrected so we go on repeating them and continue winning, most of the time.
Obviously, we don’t have time to inventory and analyze every action to improve each individual life process. As the saying goes: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. These habitual patterns get us what we need, until they don’t. And then, we have an opportunity to learn some of our greatest lessons and make some of our most drastic changes to get our most incredible results. Perspective matters here.
When your habitual patterns aren’t working for you, it’s generally a slow degeneration of results. Over time, a small squeak becomes a squeal followed by results coming to a screeching halt. And this is a difficult issue to break down as it seems that you haven’t changed anything, but your results have deteriorated. This can be a perplexing situation and unfortunately, we don’t generally inventory exactly what state we are in, the specific actions we take and the in-action feedback during a winning performance. Because of this, we have a hard time drawing upon exactly what is different between our habits now, and our habits when we were winning.
Learning Tool: Inventory winning details. After each performance, take reflective time to inventory exactly how you felt while you were executing specific actions. Catalogue the specific physical, social and environmental feedback that was present during your performance. Rebuild and replay the sequence in your mind. Jot down some notes to ensure you can come back to these details if this performance is a win or burn the notes if it’s a loss! In seriousness, keep your loss notes, you may get stuck in the future and need an ‘aha’ moment that can be found in the details of a loss you learned about before. Put the same (or greater) amount of focus on the details and play-by-play in your winning analysis as you would in one of those haunting loss situations. Once you’ve determined if the noted performance was a win or a loss – score it as such and file it for reference later. By making it a habit to catalogue reflective notes from ALL performances you will have access to the winning details and not just the deeply deliberated details from agonizing flops.
When you are measuring self-improvement with specific activities, it’s incredibly helpful to be able to find patterns in your winning notes, and your losing notes. When something isn’t going right and you can’t figure it out, you may be able to find that one feeling, action or feedback item that is present in all your winning notes and that you somehow lost along the way. Get back that winning feeling by consciously reintegrating that winning detail.
Tiger woods has made at least three deliberate changes to his golf swing, while he was winning, so that he could keep winning. Often, on a quest to Best Yourself, you’ll start trying new things. You’ll focus on building new skills, executing new actions and making small or even drastic changes with an intention and hope to improve. These new patterns and habits are hard to inventory against your old-faithful winning practices. In these situations, you need to continue to inventory every performance and secure new winning details. In the event that you can’t catch a win with your new patterns, you can revert back to you old notes and ensure you build your confidence and optimism back up before making another attempt at improvements through change.
Choose to make your winning performances just as valuable as your losses by turning the unconscious patterns in conscious decisions that become controllable.