Ever wonder what makes the difference between a winner, aka First Place, and 2nd place, aka part of the losing class?

At my oldest daughter’s track meet tonight, I witnessed it. Pure. Raw. Athlete vs. Athlete. Winner vs….yes, a loser.

In the 400m sprint, my daughter was passed by a faster girl. My daughter hates losing. She hates losing unless she absolutely gave it all she had (which for her would be nothing less than passing out at the finish line from over-exertion – and no, I don’t think this is a “trait” you can teach).

During the last 50′ of that 400m race, I could see anger building in my daughter’s face as she saw 1st place disappearing. The competition was ahead by a few strides. They weren’t even neck on neck. Her competition had a good lead.

But, like I’ve seen her do so many times before, my daughter just dug deeper. She drilled down into that reservoir of courage and disdain of losing, and made up her mind that she would not lose. She would finish first at all costs. She has a winning attitude.

As they approached the finish line where I was (I was timing races tonight at the meet), I witnessed a win all right. Mady not only caught the other girl, but at the very point of crossing the finish line, as they were basically hip-to-hip, my kiddo leaned her head forward and stuck it out over the finish line first, winning, taking 1st place.

For her, it was a night of several 1st place finishes. She did however, finish 3rd in the discus. On the flip side, it was only her first time throwing. So, I’ll let that slide (kidding!). For her, she expects to win, which does make defeat hard to swallow, but, should it be easy to accept? Not in my world.

The U.S. has become a nation full of too many content on finishing second or not even in the top 3. My dear friend, THIS HAS to change. We cannot be satisfied, as my dad would say to my brother and I before we competed in sports, “…sucking hind tit.”

[That’s a farm/pig reference. The runts of litters get stuck in this position, just in case you thought I was headed to another place there. 🙂 ]

We shouldn’t even be competing against China. India. Japan. Russia. England. Germany. Certainly not France. Definitely not any of those crazies elsewhere. They shouldn’t even register on our radar.

Brings me to a couple things to think about:

-If you’re one of these folks that are bothered by competition, move to a socialist country.

-If it bothers you that at baseball games, score is kept and your team always loses, quit. (Winners find better coaches and better players.)

-If you think “everyone deserves to play,” that only counts when kids are tiny – as in 3 to 6 or 7 yrs old. By the time they are 10, 12, 15, if they’re not “good enough to play,” do them and you a favor and find something they can excel at.

-If it bothers you that your friends are competitive and you think we should all just get along, find some friends that agree with you and be happy with mediocrity and everyone finishing at the same time, or, just not keeping score. I surround myself with people who not only want to be #1 at what they do, but the one others emulate.

-Taking second place isn’t winning. It’s coming in 2nd. It’s losing. If you’re not first, you might as well be last.

I’ve lost before. Many times, at many things. I didn’t like it. I never will like it. So I keep at it. Always looking for the slight edge to improve and better myself at everything I do. From being the best businessman I can be to the best dad and husband, son and brother I can be.

You shouldn’t settle, either.

If your goal isn’t to have the most profitable dental office of anyone you know, then why do you go to work? So you can bathe in mediocrity? That just stinks!

What drives you then? What pushes you to be better than mediocre?

I took a lesson from my oldest daughter tonight…I’m stickin’ my head over that finish line to win. I hope you do, too.

Share your winning story below. I’d love to read it and we can all use positive stories to keep us motivated and moving in the right direction.