You know it was a slow night tonight because I was watching Thursday Night Football. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love football and will watch pretty much any game. But I actually sat down to watch arguably the worst team in the National Football League play football. Currently, the Oakland Raiders have a record of 0-10. Meaning, they are winless. They have not won a game all year. That got me thinking… what would I do if I was winless? What would you do?
Winless. Without winning. Nada. Zero. No wins.
These are professional athletes. Professional. Athletes. They get paid to play football. Football is literally their life. And they have not won a game this year.
In a sport, in a job, in a life where winning is for the most part the only measure of success… the Raiders have utterly and completely failed. Sure, there have been close losses. And right now, they are winning this current contest and could be on their way to their first win.
But right now they have only known defeat.
Imagine going months without knowing what it felt like to win. How would you feel? How depressed and beat down and worthless would you feel? Would you give up? Would you throw in the towel? Would you just quit trying?
Again, these guys get paid to play football; it is their livelihood. Sure, it must suck mightily for them, but at the end of the day they still get paid. Think about your profession now. What if you didn’t win for months on end?
What if everything you did at work was wrong? What if all the accounts you tried to balance were negative? What if all the calculations you performed had errors? What if every sick person you diagnosed was prescribed the wrong medicine?
What if you unceasingly failed?
Would you give up?
What would you do?
Ten months ago, I would have given up. And who knows, maybe I would give up now if I faced unrelenting tidal waves of winlessness. Ten months ago, I didn’t care about anything enough to fight for it and to bear down and embrace the grind. Ten months ago, I didn’t know what it meant to push through evil, dark, painful experiences.
Ten months ago, I hadn’t discovered CrossFit. I hadn’t yet discovered that I had not yet discovered myself. Yes, I typed that correctly. Know thyself is godly, and I had not yet been acquainted with my deity.
Through the struggle, we find out who we are. Sure, everyone faces struggles everyday. For me, I never had to face a major struggle, mental or physical. I didn’t have a motivator that pushed me, that drove me to excellence. Yes, I had a job and I did my job and most of the time I did a damn good job at my job. I went to the gym and ran or took spin classes or lifted weights.
I survived… I didn’t thrive. I maybe wasn’t losing, but I wasn’t winning either. Now, I know the difference between what it feels like to win, to fight through the struggle and to come out victorious… and I know what it feels like to lose and to be beaten down and receive a Did Not Finish.
Add to that life and multiply it by everyday and you can begin to understand why CrossFit changes lives. I haven’t only learned the difference between winning and losing in these past ten months, but I’ve learned which battles are worth fighting… what topics and ideals are even worth determining a winner and a loser.
I don’t have time to waste on a battle that is inconsequential. Ok, I’m getting off course. But this was a necessary detour.
If you fight the wrong battles, even winning becomes losing.
A wild animal will stop chasing its prey once it determines that the effort is not worth the reward. Too much energy expended is not worth the nourishment gained from its prey. Worrying and dealing with concerns that really don’t matter will always render you winless.
If the lion doesn’t catch the first gazelle, you can bet he will catch the next one. Sometimes it is a matter of perspective. The lion didn’t just give up on the first hunt. He made a calculated (instinctive) decision based on the best possible outcome and net gain for himself.
Maybe the Raiders don’t win many games this year, but do they get quality experience for the next year? Maybe they do like the Indianapolis Colts and suffer through a poor season only to emerge with many subsequent good seasons after?
Maybe going winless now, taking their lumps and trusting the process, will pay off handsomely in the future? Or maybe it is just sports and the team is getting their ass kicked week in and week out?
I like to think there is a silver lining with every loss. Or, in the case of the Raiders, a silver and black lining… yeah. Call me an optimist, but you learn a lot from failing. Sometimes you have to start from the bottom.
You can’t know success without first knowing failure. But, if I never tasted success… I think that would start to wear on me. I think I would start to doubt myself, my process, my everything. No shifting of paradigm would be able to make up for never winning.
Put in the effort to win. If you aren’t winning, step back as far as you need to go until you have the distance and the perspective to see the changes that need to be made in order to become a winner.
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Someday, somehow, you will win. You just have to put in the necessary work while making the necessary changes. If you aren’t willing or able to do that, you’re in the wrong game (or you have the wrong goals).
Fight the right fights. Fight the right fights in the right way.
Change is inevitable when losing becomes the norm. Are you willing to do what must be done to win?
The Raiders are. They just became 1-10.
Your turn -> Have you ever felt like a loser, like you couldn’t get anything to go your way? What did you do?