Winning The Game Of Life

“There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.”
Clare Booth, author, 1903-1987

Jeff Davey says when he was in his 20’s, he was an avid softball player. But he’ll never forget the lesson he learned from a 45-year old player on another team.

As they were competing against each other in a tournament, he said the older fellow played the game the way it was meant to be played. He slid headfirst into bases, crashed into the wall chasing fly balls, and hustled more than any other player on any of the 26 teams in the tournament.

Jeff was curious, so he went up to the older player and said, “Mitch you really came to play today!”

But Mitch responded, “Everybody here came to play. I came to WIN!”

What about you? Are you PLAYING at the game of life, or are you WINNING the game? Are you PLAYING at your job, or are you WINNING the victories?

I’ve spent more than 35 years researching peak performance and studying the biggest winners in all walks of life. And I know exactly what it takes to get to the top and stay at the top … in your career, your relationships, and your life.

So yes, there are several keys that will get you to the top and keep you at the top. But two of the keys are especially critical: HOPE and WORK. You’ve got to hope big and work hard. I’ll focus on “hope” in today’s Tip, and then we’ll examine “work” in next week’s Tip.

You’ve got to HOPE BIG … because hope casts a vision … at the same time it gives you energy to realize your vision. So how do you get the hope you need?

=> 1. Get yourself plugged in.

It’s a basic truth in life. Perhaps you’ve noticed. Things work better when they’re plugged in. And that’s true for everything in your life … from your toaster, to your mixer, your computer, your brain, and even your faith.

That’s why so many people get so much out of motivational tapes and CD’s. I know I do. If you were in my office, you would see my collection of hundreds and hundreds of such items. I listen to at least one of them every day. They keep me plugged in, and as a result, my hope seldom wanes.

It’s kind of like Virginia Worzalla. When she went inside the station to pay for her tank of gas, she noticed a sign asking customers to tell the cashier the number of their pump. So Virginia answered, with her normal enthusiasm, “I’m number one.” To which the clerk replied, “Well, now. Looks like those motivational tapes are really working for you.”

You need to be plugged into a source of power. It will enhance your hope factor. And then…

=> 2. Check out your self-talk.

As the wildly successful entrepreneur Jim Stovall says, “The only sales job you will ever have to do is to yourself.” In other words, if you’re sold on you, your motivational hope and energy will serve you quite well.

Bruce Burton affirmed that. Burton noted that: “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.”

So take time to examine yourself. If you were to read a transcript of everything that goes on in your brain … of everything you say to yourself … would you be reading a hope-filled dialogue or a hopeless-dialogue? Would you read more sentences along the lines of “I can’t do that” and “That’ll never work out”? Or would you read more sentences saying, in effect, “I can do it” and “I’ll manage”?

To HOPE BIG, you must talk to yourself … continuously … using hope-filled affirmations. As psychologist Stephen Covey points out, “Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.” He’s saying, in effect, if you DECIDE to use lots of hope-filled affirmations, your positive, effective, problem-solving behavior will follow.

If you don’t know what to tell yourself, you could memorize and repeat professor Ben Stein’s quote. Say it to yourself over and over again until it saturates your mind. Stein tells himself, “It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated. It is finished when it surrenders.” And … I will not surrender.

You can even memorize great quotations and use them as affirmations. That’s what my 2-pack CD album … “Motivational Dream Catchers” … is all about. It gives you 100 of the world’s most uplifting quotations that will turbo charge your hope. Just listen to the quotes as you’re driving to work … or play them in the background at home … and eventually they will fill your mind with the power of hope.

Joan Baca from the Atlas Pacific Engineering Company discovered that. Joan said, “I received your ‘MOTIVATIONAL DREAM CATCHERS’ album a while ago, and the music is fantastic!! Your voice is everywhere in my daily life. And I know my repeated listening is bringing about big changes and great results in every part of my life. But it does take repeated listening. As Vincent Van Gogh said, ‘Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together’.”

=> 3. Make molehills out of mountains.

You see … most people do just the opposite. They turn a little problem into a big crisis. They focus on the worst possible outcome.

But that’s not true of people who have learned to HOPE BIG. They see problems in a whole different light. As surgeon Benjamin Carson noted, “Everybody has barriers and obstacles. If you look at them as containing fences that don’t allow you to advance, then you’re going to be a failure. If you look at them as hurdles that strengthen you each time you go over one, then you’re going to be a success.”

What about you? When problems arise, do you shrink back in fear, or do you rise to the occasion? Do you make mountains out of molehills, or do you make molehills out of mountains?

If you’ve been feeding your hope, you’ll be okay. As L. Jackson Brown Jr. says, “Hope is a periscope which enables us to see over our present problems to future possibilities.”

That’s right. When you play down your problems … or the possibilities of defeat … your hope gets you through the challenges before you. That’s what always impressed me about the great baseball player Hank Aaron. I knew him WHEN he wasn’t famous.

When I was growing up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Aaron actually played there as a part of the farm team for the Milwaukee Braves. I was impressed with his talent, but I was also impressed with his character. He never gave up hope … even though he faced two huge problems. First, he was part of a farm team, and most farm-team players never make it to the big time. And second, he was black. .

But Aaron turned his mountain-sized problems into manageable molehills with his ever-present hope. Aaron said, “In playing ball, or in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: Being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.”

I’m not suggesting that you ignore your problems. I’m not saying you should pretend everything is okay in your business or your marriage when it’s not. That would be pure foolishness.

But I am saying you should never dismiss the power of hope to deal with and overcome your problems. Don’t give up hope. Don’t give up on what you really want to do. Just remember: THE PERSON WITH BIG DREAMS IS MORE POWERFUL THAN THE ONE WITH ALL THE FACTS. That’s how hope-filled people turn mountains into molehills.

Action:  Get yourself plugged into a steady diet of 10 minutes a day listening to motivational recordings. Do this for 3 months and the difference in your overall spirit and effectiveness will absolutely astound you.