Creating Mediocrity: Every Kid is NOT a Winner!

Posted July 24, 2010 by vinceharris
Categories: Uncategorized

One day, not long ago, while my daughter (who is 7) and I were bowling, a guy in the lane next to us said “You ought to let her win a game!” I replied “It ain’t happening today, or ever; when she does beat me, it will be because she won fair and square, and  she will know that she did so on her own ability, and not because someone let her!” He acted as if I was speaking Japanese.

I cringe every time I see some contest where every child who entered gets a blue ribbon, and is told “You are all winners!”  As well intentioned as the purveyors of this philosophy may be, it does little to prepare a child to mature in a healthy and useful manner, or to deal with the world as it really works. In life, there ARE winners; one per “event”, and the rest, are, well…losers. I’m sure Tiger Woods father didn’t say “Tiger, yes you got 4th place…but that’s okay little Tiger Cub, you are still a WINNER!” No, he likely said “You are a good boy, AND you lost big time, really got your butt whipped, and have a whole lot of work to do; get your clubs and let’s go hit 200 balls!

How rampant is this backbone of Jello “Everyone is a winner” attitude? It saddens me to tell you. Children in Canada are being taught that winning is bad. The Gloucester Dragons soccer league has a new rule; if a team in this league wins by more than 5 points, they lose. I kid you not. Supposedly, this rule is to promote “fairness”! Perhaps, just as the mother Wildebeest that has just watched a Lion viciously rip the throat out of two of her offspring, you, too, have realized that life is NOT fair. Nor is it supposed to be.

One central message I send to my daughter is that life is not fair, and that she should have not have expectations of such. Would I let my daughter play on this soccer team…not a chance.

Love your child, let them know that nothing they can do will make you love them one bit more, and nothing they can do will make you love them one bit less. I don’t need to let my daughter win in the games we play. Because she knows I love her unconditionally, her worth is not tied up in whether she wins or losses. Now, I will tell you, she absolutely hates to lose; not because she feels empty without it, but because she knows the whole point of playing in the first place, is to win. I hate losing too.

To those who would argue “It’s just a game!” I say this: The next time you watch any type of game or competition, consider how many people would care to watch, or play, for that matter, if they chose not to keep score. It would all be rather pointless.

In short, the “everyone is a winner” concept promotes mediocrity and an attitude of “why give my best? I’ll get a ‘ribbon’ anyway…after all; we are all winners…even when our performance sucks!” My most frequent phrase when my daughter needs accurate feedback is “That really sucked, and, I love you!” It is a reminder that no matter the performance, the love is constant. Then, I will explain, how, exactly, it “sucked”, and then provide feedback on how she might improve or do better next time around.

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple months at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Ca, and have a handful of friends that spent time with the S.E.A.L. teams. This is one place where you can get familiar with what the mindset of a winner is, really quick like. These guys play to win; they know there are losers in life, and that in their line of work, the loser winds up riddled full of holes. As they say in the teams, “It pays to be a winner!”

 What you will find, however, is that these guys don’t just apply it to warfare…that would be dangerous; they play to win wherever they go, and whatever they are doing. Trust that if they were playing checkers against your 90 year old Grandmother, who was using her Social Security to wager a bet, that you’d better be prepared to help Granny out with groceries next month, cause she’s not going to win.

How did we get here? Why is it that we’ve somehow slipped into an abyss where everyone is supposed to be equal in every imaginable way? I really don’t have a clue. What I do know, however, and see signs of everywhere, is how it is stripping the work ethic and mental toughness out of our young people, coast to coast.

Fact is, people will get the “job” because they are more beautiful, handsome, taller, or from a certain family. Fair? Of course not, but then again, life is not supposed to be; this is how things have worked for centuries-or longer- and how they will work for many more. For those that understand this, they can prepare to work with the world as it is. For those who grow up thinking that “everyone is a winner”, they’ll be saddened-perhaps even clinically depressed, when the gorgeous blonde goofball, or tall dark and handsome idiot, gets the job, even when they weren’t really qualified to have it.

Has my daughter ever beat me in a game? Damn right…and I hate it; however, when she has done so, she feels empowered, because she knows she did it on her own, and has it re-confirmed that she does in fact, have the ability.

As the years pass, I’m sure she’ll beat me more and more, until one day, I’ll be old and feeble, and easily “whipped” as my mind and body start to fail. And when that time comes, if I ever sense that she’s “letting” me win at something, because I’m old, she should expect a swift “tap” of my cane on her shins, as a little reminder, that letting people win can be “painful” for all involved.

© Copyright 2010-Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved.

Avoiding the “Personal Development Trap”

Posted July 18, 2010 by vinceharris
Categories: Uncategorized

This article has been a long time coming. Let me preface what is to follow, by saying that I’m a huge advocate of continually developing new skills, and an ever increasing sense of self-awareness and the like. With that being said, though, I’d like to address something that has spread like some monolithic and very hungry amoeba, engulfing any “mind” that happens to get caught in its path. I call it the “personal development trap”.

In her famous book “Thick Face, Black Heart” Chin-Ning Chu writes “A CEO cannot afford the luxury of excessive optimism, because it will lead him to failure-just as an overly optimistic general who becomes careless will underestimate his battlefield foe and lead his troops to their demise. The results can be costly.” Meanwhile, one personal development expert after another, reports that if we can just be “positive” enough, or, if we can put the forces of “The Law of Attraction” to work for us, all will be well, we will have everything we want, and live happily ever after.

I’ve been privileged to interact with CEO’s and upper level management at such companies as Honda, Boeing, and Master Card, to name a few. My experience has taught me that these very successful business people, as a rule, do not do “affirmations”, are not overly “positive” and cheerful, don’t spend time each day with their “goal planner”, and are not waiting until they have “developed” to a higher level before they DO something. I have, however, met countless people who were miserable and unhappy with their very existence, who were doing all of those things. Why were they doing them? Because that’s what they’ve been taught to do; they have been promised that doing these things will bring happiness, wealth and fulfillment. The loop is endless; the more they do them, the more they don’t work. The more they don’t work, the more frustrated they become. The more frustrated they become, the more they do them, convinced, that, they just haven’t done them enough, or hard enough yet.

One very successful man, who will remain unnamed, told me “If people will just stop trying to be something other than what they are, the world is at their fingertips. If you are greedy, then just be the most greedy person you know; acquire everything you can, so you can put it to good use for society. If you are envious or jealous of the success of others, don’t waste years trying to feel differently (and you probably never would anyway), use those feelings to fuel your competitive nature and blast you to levels of accomplishment than you could have otherwise achieved.” It rings true with the saying “Success is the sweetest revenge”.

Here’s something else you should know; a great many of the “bouncy” and “sprightly” people you know, lie about how happy and positive they are. This includes, mind you, many of the world’s most famous “positive” speakers. I have met a few who spend most of their “off stage” time, angry and semi-depressed.

Achievement has no set “rules”; I can point out, to you, and you could just as easily find them for yourself, people who have achieved great things in life, and did so while being what you would call “negative”, “lazy” and many other things that many would consider “dark”.

If you are a naturally “positive” person, then you know, as well as I do, that you don’t have to try to be positive…it just flows. Likewise, those who are naturally pessimistic don’t have to try to be pessimistic. I’ve watched one person after another burn up untold amounts of energy, trying to become a “positive” person, and fail miserably. Meanwhile, I’ve watched others embrace what and who they were, and then find a way to channel that nature and personality into achieving great things.

By the way, before you jump on the “Yeah, but even though they achieve great things, they don’t enjoy it, because they aren’t happy!” bandwagon, realize that this is simply not the case, in all situations. Again, I’ve met many “negative” people who experienced life in a far more enjoyable manner than the person who was struggling each day to be “positive” while they were secretly insecure on the inside.

I show people all of the time, how they can use their physiology, or how they can shift their body language, to quickly and easily shift their mood, or their state of mind and body. This is useful, and has a wide area of application is business and personal life alike. It’s a great skill to have. Just remember, though, people all over the world, will achieve great things this year without knowing how to do this.

Personally, I prefer to be around people who are in a “good” mood most of the time. Quite frankly, though, I avoid people who are ALWAYS chipper, bubbly, and overly positive and enthusiastic like the plague. They irritate me. I like to argue from time to time, I find my life dull unless I can get “pissed off” every now and then. And to have everyone “for” me takes the wind out of my sails quicker than anything; I literally thrive on opposition. No, it’s unlikely that you’ll find me sitting cross-legged engaged in deep “spiritual meditation”, striving to be “one with everything” My idea of “one with everything” is a cheeseburger. I have a wonderful set of tools and skills I use to disengage from unhealthy levels of “stressing” and teach those skills to others, but a world without friction is very scary to me.

What is the moral of this story? You don’t need to “develop” or “evolve”, or go to a $10,000 retreat where you can cook to death in a sweat lodge, before you can do and achieve great things. Embrace who you are, and how you are, and simply find a way to use what is already there to get the things you want to experience in life done.

By the way, if the desire of your unconscious, conscious, or both, has been to finally get everyone to like you, I would urge you to let go of that as soon as possible. Here’s the rub: the more you accomplish, and the more successful you are, the more people you will have who resent you, talk behind you r back, and dislike you. So, if you can’t deal with that, it’s much easier to just blend in and do something simple and routine, and, of course, there is nothing wrong with that; many people are simply happier this way…so let them alone, the world needs us all.

As always, I hope you have found something useful in this article, and can think from a fresh perspective about how much “work” you really need to do on yourself.

One last thing, when it comes to personal relationships, what I’ve written about becomes paramount to the outcome of the relationship. You don’t change other people, and, as a rule, people don’t change, at least in terms of their personality. So, you get what you get, and that’s what you’ve got, and what you will have from there on out.

© Copyright 2010-Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved.

Rude Mood: Why Some People Make a “Bad” Mood a Bigger Deal than Others

Posted July 17, 2010 by vinceharris
Categories: Uncategorized

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Ever known someone who was very “moody”? We all have, haven’t we? Yet, maybe you’ve noticed the tendency of some people, though, to allow their moods to take more control of their lives than others.

 Before we look too closely at this, however, it might be a good idea for me to examine the concept of “mood” more closely. Ones mood and their self-esteem are linked together in a very important way; the lower someone’s self-esteem, the more demonstrative a “bad” mood will become.
For the man or woman who has a solid sense of self, and who feels that their “worth” as a human being is high, the “bad” mood is little more than that…a temporary feeling that, given enough time, will soon pass and be forgotten.

 To the person who does not feel they have much value, and have therefore rated their self “worth” very low, a “bad” mood is experienced, not as temporary, but as the “reality” of their life overall. When they are sad, they cast the feeling of sadness backwards and forwards, coloring their entire life with this feeling. When they later find they are in a mood of “frustration”, they quickly let go and forget about the sadness they previously thought to be permanent, and are now seeing life through the “lens” of frustration.
I can get “pissed off” with the best of them, and do, but my “pissed off” is no longer viewed as anything more –by me-than a fleeting feeling that will just as quickly shift to something else, and just knowing this, somehow takes the edge off of being “pissed off” much more quickly.
Remember, self-esteem is not to be confused with confidence. Confidence is how in control and effective a person feels in a specific context. Self-esteem is how much a person likes themselves.
I don’t know a thing about flying airplanes; put me in the pilot seat of a 747, and my confidence drops immediately. Put someone with a phobia of heights or snakes in front of me, and my confidence soars; I know exactly what to do, and have a rich history of having done so. The one constant, for me, however, at this stage of my life, is that my sense of worth is high in both situations. I realize that only an idiot would have confidence in flying a plane when they have never done it before. Therefore, I would embrace my waning confidence as quite natural.
Now, where self-esteem plays a big part, is when someone is thinking of doing something new. Those with a high self-esteem are far more likely to try new things, because they feel more comfortable in new situations, and don’t worry about “looking stupid” (as we all do when doing something we’ve never done before-like skiing). If I chose to take flying lessons, I would not have my sense of worth all tied up in how well I was doing with my lessons.
So, as we come full circle, talking about “mood” once again, realize that moods change frequently for virtually everyone. Sometimes, though, you wouldn’t know it, because their level of self-esteem is high enough that they literally go with the flow, and don’t identify too strongly with any of the moods they might find themselves experiencing during the day.
Want a quick way of gauging the self-esteem of others? Watch to see how they treat themselves and others. The classic poor self -esteem sign is someone who is always putting themselves down, but goes out of their way to be “nice” to others. What we see, in this case, is someone who is “nice” simply because they desperately crave the approval of others, and “suck up” to everyone, trying in vain to keep everyone happy.

Then of course, there is the person who appears to treat themselves well, but who treats those who they think are “beneath” them, like a janitor or fast food waiter, for example, like some low life that should be honored to look at them. Their apparent “good” treatment of themselves is not a sign of high self-esteem; it is the sign of a large ego.
Remember this: A person cannot have a large ego and high self-esteem; they can have a large ego and low self esteem, and this would be called “arrogance”. The inverse of this would be the person with a low self esteem and a small ego…this is someone who is the proverbial doormat for others, and who never stands up for themselves. “Balance” is achieved, in this area, only when the ego deflates a bit, and self-esteem increases. As you might imagine, this does not usually happen overnight.
There is a lot to glean from this short article. Read it again in a few days, and then again a few days later. Let the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and notice how you start to become more aware of not only your own behavior, but that of others as well.
©Copyright 2010-Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved.

Straight Men, Gay Men, and Women; What Turns Them On the Most?

Posted July 16, 2010 by vinceharris
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Body Language Quotes: Nurses and Communication

Posted July 13, 2010 by vinceharris
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Is Jesse Jackson an Idiot? Metaphors and Body Language

Posted July 12, 2010 by vinceharris
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How to Instantly Stop Worrying

Posted July 9, 2010 by vinceharris
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