Winning isn’t the everything, it’s the only thing (not)
Many coaches have tried to motivate their teams to win using simple phrases. One such phrase is: Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. These coaches believed that it was essential to instill the value of winning above all else. I disagree, and do not believe that winning is everything nor is it the only thing. There are many examples that demonstrate that winning is not the most important value. For example, it is valuable to play fairly by following the rules, to learn from mistakes, and to experiment by trial and error to reach a goal.
First, it is how we play that is most important. When an athlete does not follow the rules, he may lose everything he has tried to win. Consider the situation of champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. He won 7 Tour de France cycling races, but was stripped of his victories and banned for life from participating in the sport due to his unfair use of performance enhancing drugs and illegal doping. He did everything to win, and now he is banned from participating in a sport he loved. He will be known as someone who played unfairly.
Next, it is essential to learn from mistakes. For example, where would we be if Thomas Edison gave up after failing in his early attempts to make the electric light bulb? Literally, we would still be in the dark. Edison once said that he had not failed 10,000 times before making the electric light bulb, but that he had succeeded in learning 10,000 ways not to make an electric light! He learned to create success from each mistake on his way to achieving his goal.
Finally, trial and error is significant to success. For example, the Wright Brothers did not give up when their early models of the airplane crashed. It took the Wright Brothers years of experimentation to get their plane to fly. They studied and made many changes to their original design before making flight possible. Along the way they learned a great deal and did not give up. Accepting the process of trial and error was a difficult but essential lesson.
The examples of Armstrong, Edison, and the Wright brothers demonstrate that winning is not the only thing, and that success does not come easily. People learn from the process and move on toward their goal. Without room for making mistakes, people might never make progress. As these examples show, winning isn’t everything and most definitely it is not the only thing.