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Who is a Winner? What is Success?

August 17, 2016



I came across quite a few conversations and exchanges, in person and on “social” media which focused on the aspect of winning medals, in the context of the Olympic Games at Rio.


And there seemed to be 2 predominant thought patterns.

  1. It does not matter what one has achieved otherwise, if one has not won a medal!

  2. The “effort” that the individual puts in is most important! And hence, a medal does not matter.

I somehow chose not to accept the “Winning is the ONLY thing that matters!” approach. According to my thinking, “Winning” is important, and if I did my best, and still a better player on the day won, that was fine!  In this context, I remembered many events where a player was playing extremely well, and yet did not win, because there was someone who just did better ON THAT DAY. The latest such instance that came to mind for me, was the British Open Golf tournament of 2016. Phil Mickelson played some great golf and yet lost. Because Henrik Stenson played BETTER golf (definitely in terms of scores) especially on the last day of the tournament and won the trophy.


Coming back to the subject of the Olympic Games, and more specifically, how India was faring abysmally in terms of medals (as of this moment, not a SINGLE medal won). There were quite a few people who were making sarcastic comments, and jokes out of this. I am NOT referring to a supposed scribe who made some remark on Twitter at all. My statement is about general lay persons who probably were hurting inside that India had not won a medal. And chose to express their disappointment through sarcastic jibes at the athletes. And a very outwardly deprecative approach to the attitude of everyone in the nation, in this process!


“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and can state it, as long as they are not intending to cause hurt to others” is MY PERSONAL OPINION. And in this matter, there were a few exchanges that I also partook in that were interesting – and some of the exchanges and the thought process that I reflected upon, is the matter for another article, for sure!


And then I started reflecting on the various thoughts across the spectrum. And pondered more – was Winning everything? did not effort matter? Was it fair that only the winners are remembered and the ones that come second, or third or fourth, forgotten? I then searched for some more information on this aspect since I was certain that this was a topic that would have been debated by many across the years. And during this process, I watched this TED Talk by John Wooden which I found very good.


John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding