When I was eleven, my little brother whupped me in a foot race at a Sunday School Picnic at Port Glasgow. I was flummoxed, flabbergasted, crestfallen. To this day, I remember the strength of these adjective-ridden emotions. I have an even stronger memory of my uncle coming up to me at the
defeat, I mean, finish line and saying, “You should have seen your face.”
If this were a Karate Kid movie, my uncle’s wise comment would have translated into wax/on, wax/off moments, and by the time I was out of high school, I would have been whupping other people in foot races, while rising Buddha-like above all emotions.
Sorry, West Elgin is not Hollywood.
Let me count the ways in which winning personality types feed the part of the brain that is flooded with dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin when they are winning, while hating, despising, positively loathing the opposite, the dreaded losses.
- Winning at sports and experiencing vile emotions when losing
- Attraction to stimulants like caffeine and nicotine
- A fondness for binge drinking
- Moving on from jobs rather than getting really good at them
- Changing households frequently; loving being “on the road again”
- Avoiding sales calls because sales involves rejection, a.k.a., losing
- A love for cards, especially if money is involved
- Increased heart rate and perspiration after realizing you made a stupid checker move, and your seven-year-old granddaughter has triple-jumped you and is in for a king
That last one is particularly pathetic, but what are ya gonna do? I actually have a suggestion.
Let’s say you reach Boomerhood with good health and most of your marbles. If you are one of these people, you’ve had years to reflect on things, and to correct some of them. The good news is that many items on the list can be overcome by giving them up. The bad news is that forsaking bad habits doesn’t solve the winning/losing dilemma.
The secret to progress seems to lie in a boring word: proficiency. A friend of mine describes it this way: stability.
Instead of seeing sales calls as win/lose, just make the calls and don’t worry about the “nos”. See a job through even when it’s a grind, and you’d love to throw it all over and start something new. And so on.
Another friend of mine puts it this way: Release the outcome.
A woman I know calls it: Blessing and releasing all day long.
Wax on/wax off. Wax on/wax off.
Dumb checker move/so what?