Why You’re a Loser if You Quit Something Big.

“Winners Never Quit, and Quitters Never Win!”

If you ever played competitive sports as a child you may very well have heard this old axiom bellowed from across a field or gym by a coach looking to squeeze that little bit of “extra effort” from their players.

It’s easy to laugh it off and imagine this as being “just another motivational tool” in that coach’s repertoire, but that would be a lie.

The truth hurts, and the truth is this:

THAT COACH IS RIGHT.

Whether it’s baseball, gymnastics, cheer, or Karate…quitters DON’T win. Ever.

If you stop to think about this message and the wisdom it’s really trying to impart you realize that it’s actually a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s a statement of fact.

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

If you quit the game, then by definition you cannot win the game. If you win the game, then by definition you did not quit the game.

So how does a simple statement of fact become a philosophy? How does it become a motivational tool? It’s just a statement of fact…right?

The answer actually lies deep within the psychology of the human condition. The human brain revels in accomplishment, and it revels in the external recognition received from others because of accomplishment. It’s both an internal “high” and an external validation when we achieve something…especially something big!

  • The “Big Game”
  • The “Big Project”
  • The “Big Test”

You see, the human psyche is geared to acknowledge the “big” accomplishments because, by and large, we are mostly binary, “black or white” beings. We focus mostly on the major highs and the major lows, so we try extremely hard to seek out the major highs:

  • That problem at work we have been struggling and agonizing over becomes a catalyst of euphoria when we have that “eureka!” moment and solve the issue.
  • Those grueling workouts we subject ourselves to lead to joy when we accomplish our fitness goals.
  • Those countless hours of practice propel us to incredible leaps forward in self-confidence and affirmation when we perform well and succeed.

This is the human condition.

However, there’s another, darker component to human nature, and we have to look at it, too, to get the whole picture:

It is intrinsic to human nature to avoid hardship.

It’s true!

Think about it…

What has been the primal driving force behind human existence since the beginning of time?

MAKE LIFE EASIER!

“Make Life Easier” has been the catalyst for every major innovation in our society since the beginning of time. Every technological innovation, every philosophical achievement, every medical breakthrough…everything bends to this one, unyielding principle: That we Make. Life. Easier.

So we have a persistent urge to make life easier, but the human psyche thrives on major accomplishments?

WHAT AN INCONGRUITY!

We know that anything that’s worthwhile…truly worthwhile…usually takes a while. We know that the biggest achievements and successes are born from the hardest work. These are undeniable realities. “Hard work pays off,” and “Anything worthwhile takes a while.”

Thomas Paine (one of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States) astutely expressed:

Why You're a Loser if You Quit Something Big.

But it’s our natural instinct to avoid the hard work that’s necessary for achieving big things.

So this becomes, then, the classic struggle between “knowing” and “doing.”

As my Karate Grandmaster says…

“THE BIGGEST ROOM IN THE WORLD IS THE ROOM FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENT, AND THE BIGGEST SPACE IN THE WORLD IS THE SPACE BETWEEN ‘KNOWING’ AND ‘DOING.'”

We “know” that we have to work hard to achieve things, but that’s just an intellectual exercise. It’s the DOING that’s hard, because we have to force ourselves to overcome our baser instincts, and that’s a tremendous challenge for anyone and everyone.

THERE’S AN OLD PROVERB ABOUT THE YOUNG MARTIAL ARTS STUDENT WHO COMES TO THE MASTER AND ASKS A QUESTION:

“Master? How does one remain a good person in the face of adversity?

The Master smiles and tells the young student…

“There are two wolves at battle within us all. One wolf is good, kind, virtuous, friendly, and respectable. The other wolf is evil, hateful, spiteful, and angry. These wolves are opposites, and so fight for the spirit of a person.”

The student ponders this answer, and feeling unsatisfied, pursues the question further…

“But, Master…which wolf will win?”

The Master smiles and says…

“The one which you feed!”

Herein lies the greatest secret to personal success and victory ever told.

If “Winners Never Quit,” and we want to be a “winner,” then the only possible direction to go is forward. We MUST move forward, because if we don’t, we’ve fulfilled the prophecy: We’re not winners. We quit. We lost. We’re LOSERS. Game over.

If there’s any emotion more powerful than the gratification we enjoy by accomplishing something meaningful, it’s the regret we feel for giving up on something meaningful.

Ask yourself:

How many times have you heard someone express happiness about giving up on something that was meaningful?

How many times have you heard someone say they were “grateful” their parents didn’t make them continue doing (insert activity/sport/extra-curricular) as a child?

How many people regret that their parents didn’t make them continue piano lessons? Guitar lessons? Dance lessons? Karate lessons?

As children they were frustrated by the process, and hated the practice, because that’s human nature…to avoid hard things. But as adults they only regret that they know “just enough” to wish they knew more.

I’m sure you’ve heard that countless times, as I have. And, if you’re totally honest with yourself, you have probably experienced that, as well.

Speaking for myself, I have never ONCE met someone who said they were “happy” that they “almost” made Eagle Scout, or earned their Girl Scouts Gold Award. I have NEVER met someone who regretted the time and effort that went into earning their Black Belt.

I have never once met someone who said they DIDN’T regret not achieving something big they set out to achieve.

On the other side of that coin, I have literally lost count of the HUNDREDS of times I’ve spoken to kids, teens, and adults who said they were THANKFUL someone pushed them, made them accountable, and required perseverance for them to achieve a goal, complete a major task, or accomplish something meaningful.

In other words…

We NEED to be pushed. Without pressure (from within or from without) it’s just far too easy to fall victim to our own worst vices, and leave the hard work for someone else to pick up.

And if we want the payoff, we HAVE to do the hard work. If we want our KIDS to receive the payoff, then we have to teach THEM to do the hard work.

I often say to students in my classes who express frustration over their lack of progress:

“Don’t complain to me about the results you don’t get from the work you refuse to do. If you want to complain to someone, complain to yourself. Hold yourself accountable for your own shortcomings, and then refuse to accept those shortcomings! Do the work. Get the payoff. It’s a transaction as old as time.”

In closing, remember this:

It’s human nature to avoid hardship, but without hardship we cannot achieve greatness.

So the next time you find yourself looking for an excuse to quit, just remember…

WINNERS NEVER QUIT, AND QUITTERS NEVER WIN!

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