Of all things, I got invited to the Floyd Mayweather – Manny Pacquaio fight on Saturday night. Rather, I got invited to a party where this guy had paid for us to watch the fight on TV. At $100 a shot, which I didn’t know until just before I left, I guess it was cause to have a party to make sure you got your money’s worth.

#43 - audrey hepburn
fred baby via Compfight

During and after the fight, many of the people there weren’t happy with what they saw. Instead of two guys coming together and beating the daylights out of each other, what they saw was a tactical fight by Mayweather, who almost never got hit, and a guy on the other side who was frustrated to no end. It was typical Mayweather, who won the fight easily.

At one point during the fight, one of the guys there said “Mayweather isn’t even trying to fight; he’s just standing outside throwing jabs.”

I said “That’s what he does; that’s what boxing really is.”

He said “But that’s not fighting.”

I said “No, it’s boxing, and this is why he’s going to win.”

He said “But this isn’t all that exciting.”

I said “It’s not always about being exciting; it’s about winning.”

Strange as it might seem to people who know me now, I used to win a lot of things as a kid. I won lots of bowling trophies. I was pretty good at a lot of sports. I was badminton and ping pong champion of my class senior year, and I was a pretty good volleyball player also, though I never really liked the game. I was also pretty good at tennis.

I mention these sports specifically because I played them differently than how other people played. I was only about winning. I played fair and by the rules, but I played by my own rules when it came to trying to win.

What do I mean? Instead of trying to bang a ball back and forth with the other person, trying to prove how tough I was, I played to my strengths in each sport.

For instance, in ping pong, my strength was in blocking back everything anyone hit at me. The other person would try to blast the ball past me and I’d just block it back. I’d keep doing this until they eventually missed because they’d get frustrated.

In tennis, I hit the ball with a slice, which meant the ball had a backspin to it. This gave me two advantages. One, I could pretty much hit the ball where I wanted to hit it. Two, when the ball landed it lost its steam, so other players would have to lunge for it.

In both badminton and volleyball, instead of hitting the object (since badminton doesn’t have a ball) hard and back at the opposing player or team, I would tap the item at angles, barely over the net, which threw them off because no one else played that way.

Winning isn’t always spectacular or pretty. There have been international chess matches that have ended in less than 5 minutes because the losing player analyzes what’s happened and has already figured out that he’s lost and gives up. Often people who watch these matches (which I can’t imagine) get really upset because they don’t have that kind of vision, the type that only a grand master could have. But a win is a win; you never hear of the winners of these matches being upset that they won.

Think about business wins. When Windows became the number one operating system in the world, was there a spectacular party proclaiming it, or did we just open the newspaper one day to read that they had started to dominate the market? When Google overtook all other search engines, was there a major celebration with cake and confetti, or did it happen without anyone really noticing at the time?

In my mind, if most of us concentrated on a few small and innocuous daily wins we’d motivate ourselves to do other things that might be more substantial. I’m big on winning as often as I can, but I don’t want every win to be a major challenge I’ve had to overcome.

Sometimes, winning is as simple as getting out of bed and facing the day. Other times, winning is figuring out something that seemed kind of tough and getting it completed on time and proficiently.

Whether you win on your own or in front of others, don’t ever get caught up in playing someone else’s game, especially if it’s not your strong suit. Win on your own terms, as long as it’s fair and within whatever the rules are. Do that and you’ll win often.
 

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