The Winner’s Mind: A Competitor’s Guide to Sports and Business Success
By Allen Fox, Ph.D.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE — A LOOK INTO THE MIND OF THE HABITUAL WINNER
Successful people in any area have certain common mental characteristics. This chapter analyzes the personality types of the great competitors and habitual winners as well as the genetic and environmental factors that produce them. These individuals make up only a small percentage of the population, yet they are successful at whatever they undertake, whether it is sports, business, the professions, or academics.
CHAPTER TWO — THE COMPULSION TO COMPETE AND ACHIEVE
The drive to win — to achieve and be successful — is, to an important degree, determined genetically. We focus on the work of Konrad Lorenz, whose studies suggest that, like other species, our drives for territory, sex, and position on the social hierarchy are the most powerful innate underpinnings of our drive to win.
CHAPTER THREE — HOW SOCIETY PRESSURES US TO WIN
This chapter explores the environmental factors such as societal and parental influences that cause us to want to win. It becomes clear, after the first three chapters, that our desires to win and become successful are powerful, universal, and determined by both heredity and environment.
CHAPTER FOUR — THE INSIDIOUS AND PERVASIVE FEAR OF FAILURE
Now the dark side of the achievement equation appears. All competition and drives for achievement are accompanied by the fear of failure. Though often unconscious, this fear is powerful and pervasive and is always a factor in competition. Although it can, at times, be motivational and even positive, it more often hinders one’s ability to achieve. In order to reach one’s full achievement potential, fear of failure must be faced and overcome.
CHAPTER FIVE — THE UNCONSCIOUS STRUGGLE BETWEEN AMBITION AND FEAR
Fear of failure is usually unconscious and interferes directly with the drive for achievement, causing most people to become inefficient competitors. Fear nullifies much of the competitor’s will to win and distorts the competitor’s perceptions. Its destructive effects cause people to refuse to compete, lie to themselves, make excuses, blame others for their failures, repudiate and replace their real goals with goals easier to achieve, fail to finish tasks, procrastinate difficult tasks, and panic on the verge of victory.
CHAPTER SIX — GOAL ORIENTATION
This chapter is about goal setting. The successful identify clear long-term goals and develop game plans for reaching them. This leads to a succession of short-term goals upon which the successful focus their energies. Without such plans, important tasks become frightening and confusing. This chapter discusses short- and long-term goals, game plans, and how to focus one’s energies more productively.
CHAPTER SEVEN — KEEPING GOALS IN MIND
High achievers never forget to keep their eyes on the ball. Any actions they take are calculated to lead them toward (and never away from) their goals. They only do things that help them win. The losers, by contrast, often act contrary to their own interests. Examples of this are when they argue with customers in a retail situation, fail to complete tasks in the workplace, or become angry or discouraged in athletic contests.
CHAPTER EIGHT — THE FEELING OF CONTROL
The winners subconsciously feel as if they can control the outcome of events themselves. This makes them take responsibility for success or failure. It makes them work harder and more persistently to win. The losers think that success or failure is determined by factors outside of their control, and they are, therefore, susceptible to excuses, passivity, and weakness.
CHAPTER NINE — A SOLUTION FOR ANY PROBLEM
The winners subconsciously believe that all problems can be solved. This assumption inspires them to overcome difficulties. A roadblock simply causes them to search through multiple alternative solutions until they find one that works.
CHAPTER TEN — SENSITIVITY TO SUCCESS
The winners have a sharp eye for what is working and what is not. They learn quickly from success and failure. Like sharks to blood, they are immediately attracted to approaches that are successful and just as quickly repelled by approaches that are not. The losers, on the other hand, appear almost oblivious to the effectiveness or lack thereof of their achievement strategies.
CHAPTER ELEVEN — REACTION TO FAILURE
Losses simply make the champions more determined to win. Undaunted, they increase their preparations and efforts so that on subsequent attempts they can improve their odds of success. By contrast, failure discourages those with the loser’s mentality. Disheartened, they reduce their efforts and become increasingly likely to lose and, ultimately, quit.
CHAPTER TWELVE — CAPACITY FOR WORK
The ability to work harder and longer than other people is, in itself, a talent. It can often outweigh intelligence, formal education, and a host of other mental and physical talents in the quest for success.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN — WORK WITHOUT IMMEDIATE REWARD
Most people can work hard for short periods of time if they are rewarded quickly and handsomely. Otherwise they are likely to lose heart and give up. By contrast, the champions are tough and have the long view. They can see past the valley to the hill beyond and can work without reward as long as necessary to reach their goals.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN — INTELLECT OVER EMOTION
Man is seldom the rational being in practice that he is in theory. In fact, most people use their logic systems to back up their emotions rather than the other way round. The winners do not fall into this trap. With them practicality and goal orientation take precedence over counterproductive emotions.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN — ENERGY
The winners have extraordinary physical and mental energy. They are up early and in motion. They are relentless and determined to reach their goals. They are willing to delegate tasks to others, but only reluctantly. They would do everything themselves if they could, but realize that they can’t so they delegate. By contrast, the less successful lack force and energy. They are slow and reluctant to move and happily hand off tasks to others because they don’t want to do them themselves.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN — WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Of course winning is far better than losing, but at the same time our drives to win and achieve are only parts of our psychological makeup. We need, above all, intelligent balance in our lives. Although it is difficult to be happy without at least some measure of achievement and competitive success, it is equally or more difficult without friends and a congenial family life.