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Rules for Winning

Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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Helen Keller quote; rules

You want to win a physical, mental, spiritual, or political race? Life teaches us how. For review, a few rules have helped the Greats prevail. So, here they are.

First, define success. You know what it is, at least for you. Wake with it, sleep on it, pray for it, work for it, and believe in it. Believing is where it all starts. Not believing where it all ends.

How do you think Washington suffered so many defeats but won? How the Union saved the Union? Edmund Hillary crested Everest, and 1980’s Olympic Hockey bested the Soviets. Belief. 

Being told it cannot happen is, by the way, a gift. It forces you to choose – believe or not. Yoda is not the only one who saw the light. So did everyone who has, being diminished, finished.

As Helen Keller noted, success is overcoming. “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardship.”

Second, doubt is the enemy. Letting doubt shade belief, dissuade you from what you know, distract, deter, or disorient you, is what defeat looks like on approach. Wave it off.

Think about … “The Boys in the Boat.” Recall that true story? Told they could not win, just too poor, they won gold. Jimmy  Connors won Wimbledon in 1982, too old. Lindbergh soloed the Atlantic, age 25, too young, told he would die – and why? Doubt. But he had none.

Third, victory needs preparation. If the iceberg is mostly hidden, so is victory. It happens long before the day. Preparation is why pianists’ hands ache, runners’ legs lock, you read another chapter tired, do another rep exhausted, and take another step – determined not to quit.

Joan Benoit of Maine broke her leg skiing, so she began running to heal it. In 1979 she won the Boston Marathon, an unknown, 8 minutes off the record. By 1984, she was preparing for the Olympics, injured a knee, and leaned on her preparation – qualified. Three months later, she won gold.

Fourth, know what you do not see. Yes, this is spiritual, as 90 percent of everything is unseen, coordinating heart and head, faith and fortitude. So, remember others prepare too, so do more.

Fifth, success requires a team. Whether you are a solo soldier, climber, flyer, runner, or part of a team; whether you are a candidate or support, we all need each other. Appreciate, empower, reinforce, ebb and flow, lead, and follow, to support your team. They are you, and you are they.

Sixth, winning is about the mission. Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” That works for human beings as much as in science. Check the ego; grab the mission.

Seventh, seconds count. Close-bitten, hard-fought battles are often won by those who realize seconds count, every tick, every inch, every moment, every chance, right to the end.

George Washington won at Princeton and Trenton, turning the war, not because his men crossed the Delaware in a storm, and marched in snow barefoot, but because they fought to the last second.

Same for Harry Truman in 1948, who campaigned to the bitter end, narrowly took Ohio, Illinois, and California, stunning Dewey and half the nation. Trump did that again in 2016.

Eighth, consistency counts double.  Consistent focus, effort, and resilience take the day. Working to hit benchmarks – can be decisive. History was a fluid future before it became solid; victories are the same. They are often clawed, scratched, gutted out without doubt – more than luck.

Ninth, take personal responsibility. Put it on you, then show how that is done. Work inspires work, and the competitor who takes responsibility ignites forces that often lead to success.

So, what again? Define success, ditch doubt, prepare, see the unseen, credit your team, keep to the mission, count the seconds, be consistent – and take responsibility for what you want to happen.

Candidly, in a political year, dumping fear and having confidence is how winners rise. So, apply what you know, envision victory, and have at it. Or as Helen Keller said: “Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world … straight in the eye.” 

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Rebecca
Rebecca
8 days ago

What an uplifting article! There are times, for all, where the darkness prevents us from seeing the light. Your words help push us onward and see the end. Thank you for quoting one of my favorite people. She is a model for all to go/look forward and see the light.

Melinda
Melinda
8 days ago

Good list. I think Trump follows it. He may be narcissistic, but he plans ahead, sticks with it, but is flexible, and is confident of success. And best of all, failure doesn’t deter him. His stamina is impressive.

NeilRK
NeilRK
8 days ago

AMAC your up arrow Share no longer works.

Max
Max
8 days ago

RBC, great piece. Everyone who applies these steps, will be a winner.

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