WE LIVE IN A TOTALLY RESULTS-DRIVEN SOCIETY. You are only deemed to be as good as your most recent victory. This has set up a consistent state of low self-esteem for many people. Recently, I enjoyed the NCAA National Championship Basketball Tournament. For months, every team in the country has a goal of making it to the tournament. Then, at the end of the season, 64 teams are selected from various parts of the country. As the tournament progresses, teams are eliminated one-by-one until, at the end of the season, the team remaining is named the national champion.

Among all of the participants who began at the beginning of the season, and among all the 64 who actually made the tournament, only one team comes out on top. If this is our goal, the majority of us are doomed to failure. Success lies in the balance between seeking and striving on one hand and being peaceful and content on the other. This balance can only be achieved when we separate our self-worth from our performance. Small children seem to innately understand this. It’s okay to have fun while playing a game whether you win or lose when you’re six years old. Unfortunately, as we grow up, it’s not okay to lose because we become identified with our performance.

Success lies in the balance between seeking and striving on one hand and being peaceful and content on the other.

We all have value that has been placed inside of us. That value is totally separate from our performance. You can read any day in your local newspaper about great athletes, successful movie stars, or champions within the business world whose personal lives are total failures. Their performance may be at a peak level while their lives are not. Never make having things or achieving status as your goal. Instead seek to be the kind of person who will naturally do the right thing that result in all of the things that our culture calls success.

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WISDOM FOR WINNERS: JIM STOVAL