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Monday, September 18, 2006

Winners and Losers

I read the following article today. It's from Jack and Suzy Welch's column in Businessweek. I thought it was particularly relevant for some conversations I've been having with friends and with myself lately. I like the comforting and inspiring message it delivers. It encourages you to think in broader terms, not to let your mind operate in such a myopic manner and see that success has many definitions. What else can be thought of in broader terms?

All this talk about winning makes me wonder, is there any place for losers in this world? Only a small percentage of people succeed; should all non-winners just kill themselves? - S. Gopal, Bangalore

What a question -- it has to mean you see winning purely economic terms. That's just not how it has to be.

We think about winning another way: as setting personal goals and achieving them, and (as importantly) enjoying the experience on the way. Winning has nothing, or everything, to do with your job. Yes, you can win as a corporate executive, but you can win just as meaningfully as a carpenter, math teacher, or singer in a wedding band. You can win raising a family, caring for your parents, or being a good friend -- as long as those are the dreams you picked for yourself. Indeed, the biggest winners in the world are those who answer yes to the question, "Am I living the life I choose?"

One of the biggest winners we know is a person who your economic definition would probably not qualify at all. Jim O'Connell graduated from Harvard Medical School. But instead of pursuing a lucrative career, he has spent the past 25 years driving a van around Boston practically every night, delivering medical care to the homeless. He lives simply; yet Jim's life is full of joy, and he is beloved by everyone lucky enough to know him, from street people to senators.

Look, winning and losing can't be quantified. They are states of mind, and losing only happens when you give up. Seen that way, then, the world can be filled with winners, and there is room for them all.

- Jack and Suzy Welch


  • whoever wrote this is a loser! lol
    just kidding.

    I agree with most of it.

    Have they written anything on the topic of compromise and/or personal choices beyond exterior influences?

    By Blogger Adrian L. Acosta, at 9/19/2006 8:17 AM  

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