A Winner Does…

June 25, 2014 — 9 Comments

We all have our own definition of winning. But as Aristotle famously said, excellence is not an end but a habit. It is a series of standards and defaults that one must continually meet. In other words, just because you’ve won something, doesn’t mean you’re a winner. It just means you’ve won. There is still work left to be done.

With that in mind, these are the standards I aspire to, that I have seen and admired in other winners past and present. I’m sure you have your own.

*A winner can communicate.

*A winner was once an apprentice (even if only from afar). They do their best to honor that debt.

*A winner values time over money.

*A winner studies what they do. Their own personal experience is not enough.

*A winner reads (at the very least, biographies or audiobooks).

*A winner is decent to strangers—answering questions, giving directions, picking up stuff that’s dropped, opening doors.

*A winner takes pain, maybe even delights in it a little.

*A winner doesn’t “exercise,” they train in something (martial arts, running, swimming, biking, cross fit, boxing, weights, whatever).

*A winner can influence through silence.

*A winner controls—or at least can articulate—their vices. Particularly those that may conflict with their craft or competition.

*A winner picks up the check.

*A winner travels light.

*A winner has a routine. Maybe they get up early, maybe they work late into the night. But they have a routine.

*A winner doesn’t get distracted by outrage porn—they’re busy dealing with their own problems.

*A winner has a working knowledge of history (particularly what relates to their field).

*A winner respects other winners and relates to them.

*A winner pays people to do what they can’t do. Winners are part of—or rather, leaders of—a team..

*A winner has their own moral code (in a good way: they adhere to a set of principles).

*A winner doesn’t recognize “weekends.” They often forget what day it is…because it doesn’t matter.

*A winner turns procrastination and other such weaknesses to a motivating advantage.

*A winner doesn’t need credit, it is enough to see his work out in the world.

*A winner doesn’t get flustered, they remain calm in the face of adversity and stress. They are the calm.

*A winner doesn’t talk about their plans, they keep them to themselves and then do it.

*A winner doesn’t stop—neither at success or after failure.

*A winner wants other people to be successful too. Often, they want this more than the other people want it for themselves.

*A winner has an outlet other than work.

*A winner can be anyone. Why not you?

What else does a winner do? You tell me.

This column originally appeared on Thought Catalog. Comments Can be seen there. Thanks to Edward Druce for this inspiration on the format of this post. 

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

9 responses to A Winner Does…

  1. A winner does handstand push-ups before breakfast!

  2. Miguel A Cortés June 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

    These were the most relevant ones for me:

    *A winner studies what they do. Their own personal experience is not enough.

    *A winner doesn’t get distracted by outrage porn—they’re busy dealing with their own problems.

    *A winner has a working knowledge of history (particularly what relates to their field).

    *A winner doesn’t talk about their plans, they keep them to themselves and then do it.

    *A winner wants other people to be successful too. Often, they want this more than the other people want it for themselves.

  3. The one I have a lot of trouble with is learning to differentiate weekdays from weekends. This job makes me live for the weekends, which I know isn’t a positive sign. Great write up as usual Ryan.

  4. *A winner is okay with discomfort and uncertainty.

  5. * A winner rates his own view of himself higher than the opinions others have.
    * A winner finds a balance between moments of serenity and tension.

    Great writeup, Ryan

  6. *A winner does not talk shit and does not gossip about fellow competitors. It is a waste of energy.

    *A winner does not complain about the competition he/she competes in no matter how much unfairness is felt. A winner will instead use the frustration as motivation to train harder.

  7. A winner takes the blame and shares the success.

    A winner does NOT give unsolicited advice.

  8. *A winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  9. A winner doesn’t complain

    A winner respects himself and beliefs

    A winner is not intimidated

    A winner can see through fake people

    A winner can make the obstacle work in his advantage

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