More and more, people place their focus on the immediate gratification of short-term wins. Often our definition of winning is skewed. We define winning by championships in sports, grades in schools, making money, etc. — when ultimately, none of these things are what it takes to be a winner.
Not convinced that what I am saying is what is really important? Then answer the two sets of questions below created by Charles Schulz (the cartoonist who created Charlie Brown):
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
It is easy to see that being on any of the lists above would be an amazing feat. You would unequivocally be considered a winner if you achieved anything in those six questions. So, why can’t you answer the questions?
Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
You make an impact in this world by caring for people and making a difference in the lives of others. This is an important mantra for us to remember in education today. In the early 1900s, after winning a championship, a reporter asked Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, “What do you think of your team?” He replied, “I’ll tell you in 20 years.” This is a challenge for educators, coaches, and parents. We need, or probably just want, to see immediate results for our work. We are measured by it. When in reality, the success of our work cannot and will not be measured for years. I challenge you to think about how you define winning. What does it mean to you, and how do you measure it?
Try not to get so caught up in the immediacy of results and performance that we lose track of what is really important. Try to place our focus on getting better each day and helping those around us do the same. How do I feel about my leadership ability – ask me in 20 years, and I will let you know if I am any good at what I am doing. That is when it will matter!