So you a chicken?

          What does it take to win? It takes a whole lot of losing! That was not the answer you were looking for but it is the truth. How do you win or lose? You need to be willing to take risks.

     In a competition the outcome is never certain. This is why we often here the phrase, "that's why they play the game". Only one athlete, or team, can win. This means that many of us are competing for the "non-winner" sports. This is the reality of competition.

     Stick with me here. I know this post has gotten off to a somber start, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Do you think the winners of any given athletic competition knew with 100% certainty that they were going to win? No. These athletes were in the same boat you were in. They knew that they needed to compete and see where the chips fell at the end of it all.

     If you don't know if you're going to win, and neither does the next athlete, then how do we settle this? Simple, just go out and compete. There is a difference between winning and losing an athletic competition however, and it is usually tied to risk taking. If you do not try and win, you can't. It makes perfect sense, but in the moment that we are competing many of us just chicken out. 

     If you can train your mind to be more willing to take risks, you will have a tremendous advantage over your competitors. Most athletes "compete", but their strategies and tactics are usually safe and calculated. A risk taking athlete is much different in their approach to and handling of competition. 

     Risk takers often do things that do not make sense to those around them. This is another logical thought if you think about it. As was stated earlier winners are the minority and risk takers are the ones who win so the actions of winners often leave other perplexed. A risk taker goes all-in to win. Going all-in means that the possibility of losing is also on the table.

     Since the actions of risk takers do not make sense to most, they will often be met with criticism. Once again this is tied to the fact that risk takers are not understood by many of their peers. As a matter of fact the only other athletes that truly understand risk takers are other risk takers!

     Risk takers will fail often. They might even fail at a higher rate than those other athletes that play it safe during their competitions. The benefit that risk takers are receiving over their competitors, even in defeat, is that they are learning at a much faster rate. It is one thing for a teammate or coach to tell you that a certain course of action will end in failure. It is a completely different notion for you to go out and try that course of action and experience that failure for yourself. I know it seems harsh, but the personal experience of failure is much more powerful than learning about failure from someone else. 

     Now that you better understand the mind of winning athletes, I have an assignment for you. The next time you are watching an athletic contest, pay closer attention to the actions of the players. Be mindful of the athletes that are taking more risks in order to win. In some sports it may be harder to see than others, but risk taking exists in every game and every sport. The athlete that takes more risks may end up losing at the end of the competition, but do not get fixated on that. Risk takers always end up winning in the end.