Winners possess a distinct and optimistic attitude towards life which whiners don’t have – I.K. Otchere-Asamoah
It is challenging to stay positive and tempting to be a whiner in these times because of the socioeconomic challenges buffeting almost every single individual on this planet. From advanced countries to developing nations across the global, governments and politicians are out of solutions. Big multinational companies which were considered too big to fail are falling through the cracks due to illicit deals, financial irregularities and corporate greed. Nations are being bought out practically by other powerful nations to prevent them from going under economically—these are slippery times we live in.
Employees who had secured and promising jobs with both public and private sector organizations are unexpectedly handed pink slips. People’s lifetime savings and capital investments are slipping away quickly right before their eyes. Basically, things are falling apart globally and the center seems not to hold. Everyone is seeking for answers, solutions, and change of direction for the better. The future appears bleak and hopeless to most people.
In times like these, it is quite appealing to jump on the bandwagon of blame, whining in pessimistic angst, but I urge you to trust in God with all your heart and depend not on the expertise and systems of men.
Trusting in the benevolence and sovereignty of the Almighty God automatically stimulates an attitude of positivity and hope that it is well, even though everything around you is collapsing. The Almighty promised to take care of you even though, “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand. But it will not come near you” (Psalm 91:7, NLV). The nineteenth century British Priest, hymn writer and theologian Frederick William Faber opined that “They always win who side with God.”
The number one distinctive factor which separates winners from whiners is their belief in God, which determines their perspective of life. Winners have positive outlook in life; whiners have a depressed viewpoint about the future. Winners create their future; whiners depend on others for their future. Winners see opportunities in every challenge; whiners perceive challenges in every opportunity. Winners use obstacles as stepping-stones in their purpose; whiners use obstacles as excuse not to fulfill their purpose in life.
The attitude of Olympic marathon runner, John Stephen Akhwari characterizes the spirit of a winner:
It was summer Olympics of 1968 in Mexico City, John Stephen Akhwari, a Tanzanian athlete who was running a marathon had fallen, wounded his right knee and severely lacerated. The paramedics had persuaded him to drop out of the race for full treatment, since he no longer stands a chance to win a medal. But the African runner declined the invitation and slowly oscillated from trotting to walking throughout the rest of the race. 17 out of the 74 competitors in the marathon that day did not finish the race.
Almost 7 O’clock in the night, out of the nearly dark sky came John Stephen entering from the far end of the stadium painfully limping on his bloody and gashed leg every step of the way. An hour had already elapsed since the winner of the 26-mile Olympic marathon crossed the finishing line and the stadium was virtually empty with only a few spectators getting ready to leave. The police sirens and flashing lights caught the attention of people and as they turned to see what was happening, to their amazement, there was the ‘lone runner’ dressed in the colors of Tanzania!
Suddenly the whole stadium erupted with tumultuous cheering and standing ovation propelling John Stephen to step up the pace to finish his last lap of the marathon. After crossing the finishing line, surrounded by the paparazzi and journalists, one of the reporters inquired from him, why he had not retired from the race, since he had no chance of winning? He replied, “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish.” Yes, that is the spirit of a winner!
See, John Stephen had the option of dropping out of the race and blame his failure on the injury on his right knee, instead he chose to take the highway though difficult and seemingly endless. He could have opted for the offer from the paramedics and get on the ambulance, and whine the rest of his life about the reason he could win or complete that Olympics marathon. When you choose to exhibit the attitude and spirit of winners, posterity will celebrate you long before your departure. No one even remembers the name of the athlete who came first in summer the Olympics of 1968 in Mexico City, but we are still honoring John Stephen for his outstanding character. Author, Albert Gray points out that “Winners have simply formed the habit of doing things losers don’t like to do.”
Winners are not necessarily the most talented and certainly don’t take the first place in all their forays; instead, they have cultivated and mastered the following component of human life:
- Endurance – Winners possess a unique ability to go longer than Whiners. In other words, they have staying power; like in the TV commercial where the Eveready battery goes on and on after every battery has run out of power. Author, radio and television presenter, Church of Scotland minister, and Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, William Barclay believed that “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.”
- Diligence – American poet and educator, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow points out that “The heights by great men reached and kept, were not obtained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” Winners have the discipline of working harder and longer than their counterparts.
- Sacrifice – Winners have the unique characteristic of giving more of their time, energy, effort, and resources than anyone else. Keep on doing what most people wouldn’t do presently; soon you shall have what they can’t. It’s been said that “Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”
- Purpose – Winners have the tendencies to endure longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else not because they are the most gifted, educated, skilled, or luckiest, but because they have discovered their niche in life that propels the engine of their spirit even when their body wants to give up. In other words, they have found reason and meaning of their existence, and that is why they can endure, be diligent, and sacrifice more than necessary. Barbara de Angelis, American relationship consultant, lecturer, author, and TV personality argues that “What allows us, as human beings, to psychologically survive life on earth, with all of its pain, drama, and challenges, is a sense of purpose and meaning.”
Winning in life regardless of the circumstances and the cards dealt out to you, requires a steadfast attitude. Whiners spill out all kinds of negative attitudes because of their parochial view of the future, their abilities, gifts, and resources. It’s been said that winners lose more often than losers but winners have discovered a way of utilizing their knowledge, experiences, and insights gained through their failures to refocus their activities, re-strategize their goals, and dreams as well as to retool their skills and resources.
In spite of the situation confronting you currently, I embolden you to choose a winner’s perspective and attitude towards life. Times are hard and would be getting worse in some respective but the scripture cautions and assures us concurrently that in the last days hard and perilous times will come “But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits,” (Daniel 11:32b).
The psychological trauma and physical disarray that associate the loss of a job; an investment, one’s life savings or the fore-closure of a home could be seemingly unbearable, but the keys to stay in charge of your destiny and to get back on your feet are all in your hands right now! These keys are scanty resources in your hands currently, gifts, specialized knowledge, and experience. The legendary and retired American National Basket Association (NBA) player and coach, Larry Joe Bird sermonized that “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” Be a Winner!!