Aviyal-bit of everything

a problem?

Posted on: January 24, 2012

why winning is not important, participation and doing your best is the key.

really? Generally people tend to assume that winning means through unfair means. I like winning, worked hard to win and I teach my kids to win. By fair means and hard work are obvious. I did not win somehow, I don’t teach them to win somehow. I so strongly believe in winning. If winning is not important, all these athletes/sports teams just come, do their and go. Gee..people, winning is good. One must strive to win.

It is the journey that matters and not the destination. C’mon , destination is where your eyes and mind are set. Make the journey to a destination that matters. It is the destination that makes the journey worthwhile not the other way.

what’s wrong with loving money?. I like money and like to have some more money. My desire is not blind, I don’t make money by unfair/illegal means. I don’t even buy lottery. why people assume that all rich people has it by unfair means. money is good



17 Responses to "a problem?"

I hear you and agree with most of what you are saying. But I think the reason they say journey is important and not the destination is something along the lines of what Bhagavad Gita says too right – do your duty and don’t expect the results or rather don’t do the duty anticpating/expecting the results; if that comes well and good, if not, so be it. While I do agree that you participate to win, one needs to remember not to win by hook or crook and also that, while one should perform to the best of one’s potential, we should not develop attachment to the result – to winning – and let our destiny decide that as it helps us develop equanimity.

akay, thanks for the comments. I guess my response is not going to make you better:(

‘participate to win’- what is the need to state ‘not to win by hook or crook’. To me what it is stating the obvious. like saying breath through the nose. Is it it normal adn obvious?

destination: isn’t it a very passive approach? ‘I will keep walking- if I get there fine, if not so be it’ . If I think of the destination I probably will get there faster or invent a mode of transport to get to that beautiful destination so i can enjoy before time runs out rather than spend the entire time walking-making the journey.
I guess we can go on


– When I focus on my efforts and give it my all, I believe that winning is an outcome that will happen with time. May be not today or tomorrow, but it will eventually. It keeps me going.

– When I focus on the journey, I acknowledge and rejoice the distance traveled, and progress made. I am farther than what I was yesterday and that gives me the strength to plough ahead.

– When I focus on my efforts, I am my own benchmark and my motivation comes from within. Winning is a form of external validation.

– When I focus on my efforts, I do my best on things that are within my control and do not get distracted with things that are beyond my control.

My problem with focus on the destination is – it makes my journey conditional. If I win, my efforts are worth it. If I lose, what use is my efforts? Somehow this binary way of looking at my efforts seems to be very restrictive and does not capture the entire picture. No, we should not lose sight of the destination, but we should not forget what joy there is in traveling either.

This is a very timely post Shy, may make a post out of it on my space.

maha,[although addressed to you maha, none of my arguments are personally directed to ‘you’ when i say ‘you’..it is generic for all of us]
– so you give it all and let’s say you win onetime. that means there is nothing more to ‘keep you going’?. To me one win is an inspiration to keep going further.
-Here we are making assumptions that if you keep your eyes on the destination you don’t enjoy the distance/journey. To me, strength comes from knowing there is miles to go and I can do it.
– This is my fav ’cause I ahve a big problem with this. When I keep me as my bench mark I always pass the benchmark (there is nothing to pass almost). One will never know one’s potential.maha, external validation is important to most people for e.g. you know you do everything in your power to be a good mother to your kids.But hearing it from them’ mama you are the best’ makes a big difference. parental /spouse /friends acceptance or approval all fall under external validation. How much I like to hear from you , I am a good friend for e.g. ( I know you mean it)
-when one is so foccused one’s effort without noticing what goes around, I feel it is like in a bubble. May not even know what the best.How did we know North american life was better than staying in India? didn’t we do our best there?.
-I failed to see ‘win makes the effort worth it’ or lose makes the effort worthless. Worth of the effort is not relative to win. It is absolute ‘you made the effort’. The worth of the effort is like a 10$ bill. it has the same worth whether you found it in garbage bin or Prada purse. The winning team made extra effort than the other teams for e.g. It does not take away from their effort.

Shy, I remember you wrote another post along these lines and where I had seconded you – I am a go-getter by nature too and can *not* participate for the sake of participation and do not agree with “participating for the sake of participating” at all. That said, you need to give it your all and you need to perform to the best of your ability and at that point, when you are performing should not focus on the end result. Just focus on how best can I do what I am doing at this point – that is being in the NOW (the present) without any attachments and thoughts of the past or the future, which is also called as ekagrata – single-minded focus basically. To further illustrate, I am going to take UL’s help here (and am sure UL won’t mind :)):

“Expectations are caused due to attachment. Life shouldn’t be about attachments and expectations. They can only bring sorrow. After all, if happiness is what we seek, these emotions will always be treacherous. How so, one might question? These emotions knowingly or unknowingly cater to our ego. And expectations are strongly tied with our egos. This means expectations of any kind – expectations of family and friends, expectations of a job, expectations of a place, even expectations from one’s self can be dangerous.”

The expectations of a win is just the same – if you win, it feeds your ego and makes you gloat and if you lose, your ego suffers and you feel miserable – and that cannot be good. Any happiness or sorrow you derive out of this is ephemeral; if that be the case why have that attachment?

I know this ended up being very philosophical, but even from a very pragmatic stand-point “do your best and leave the rest to God” is easy to follow and help you not go through the emotional roller-coaster, na?

Mia, this is a healthy discussion. This is one of those topics where our convictions are shaped by who we are, and how our own experiences have molded us. There are no right or wrong answers, just what works for each of us. I think of it as narrating the same story using different angles.

I read our comments a couple of times, and see that we are saying some of the same things. You are saying focusing on goals/outcomes does not necessarily imply that you are not enjoying the ride. I am saying focusing on efforts/journey doesn’t necessarily result in losing sight of goals or outcome.

Where we differ is – your anchor is your outcome, it helps you strengthen your efforts. My anchor is my efforts, it helps me look at my outcome for what it is.

I do need one more thing to complete my understanding of your side of your perspective – you have explained your focus on outcome and how it helps you win. What about when you lose?

maha quick answer to your question ‘What about when you lose?’

I have cried on some of my loses, I have sulked on some. But never sat on them, nothing crushed my spirits. All of them only helped me to do better, aim higher, work harder

why do you consider winning or making money a destination? why is it not right NOW? what YOU DO right NOW is what gets you THERE right? Or am I wrong?

Like your example, take a player for instance – he gets on that soccer field, if his eye is on that scoreboard watching the time, watching the score when it increases or decreases as the case maybe – aiming higher, he is wasting HIS time – his focus is lost, he is not putting in his best and yes depending on how focused his opponents are -whether they’re also focused on the scoreboard or time for that matter – his team may win, his team may lose. This is what I call a misconceived case of “I did my best, if i get there fine, if not so be it”. But is that statement really true? Isn’t it just what his mind is telling him to be “True”? Did he really do his best? Wasn’t he too focused on the “winning”?

On the other hand if his focus was on the ball and keeping the ball within his range, or his teamates’ grasp and that’s all his focus is on – he SURE has a better chance of winning (why do I say better chance? because he is part of a team and winning is relative to the entire team’s effort – if all his mates were like him and were 100% concentrated on the task at hand which is to keep the ball amongst themselves, they’re 99% sure to win) And yes, there’s still a 1% chance that they would lose and that comes from how good the other team’s performance is – whether they were all focused, whether they had something better to take them up higher one notch- for instance their goal keeper could have had more years of experience over our guy’s team and knew of a move that helped them win on that 1%. OR they could’ve cheated and that could’ve caused them to WIN. Such is life. It is unpredictable. It is not focused on one person and one person alone. Never is.

For our player there is a high chance of no regrets -whether he won or lost (why do I say high? Why don’t I say 100%, think about it and if you cannot come up with answers, let me know and I shall tell you why), because he went out there and did his best. But if he was focused on that result, that could very well has caused his loss and he didn’t do his best. So regrets arise. Why did he let them arise? Why didn’t he just enjoy the ride? Whether he won or not, that moment is in the past, gone, no point in focusing on that – what is his next step? Do his best again…..Because regrets wont him get anywhere, because he is wasting away the moments of doing his best by dwelling in the past.

Coming back to some of the discussions above – I think they’re wonderful btw – gave me a lot of time to mull over since yesterday when I read this post – Personally I think no matter how hard we focus on the destination whether it is winning or making money, journey is all we have, and therefore that is all that matters – if getting to the destination ie journey is not important then the chances of getting THERE are even less. Because such is life, so why not make the very journey or our very efforts our destination? Because that’s all we have to work with right now?

just curious about your answer here, maybe you have mentioned it already and i am missing the point, so tell me again – “why do you consider winning or making money a destination? why is it not right NOW?
[shy] here is my beef. why do you assume that NOW is not important to me. Please you may go back and read my original post. Like said there, when I say i like winning, the immediate response from many is ‘But winning is not everything’. Did I say that or did it imply that? why the assumption that winning is done by unfair means? it feels like I have to make a qualifying statement’I like winning by fair means’. fair is obvious, do not have state the obvious. So If I ask you’ You like winning?’ answer is yes or no with out qualifiers. Please try to answer Yes or No.
what YOU DO right NOW is what gets you THERE right? So why is the journey not important?[shy] sometimes what you do NOW may not get you there. you may have to do it differently or do a differen thing altogether. did I say/imply that journey is not important
“Surely focusing on the destination would only slow you down because you are not giving in your best to get THERE[shy] you lost me here. Destination only helps me to give more than best, work more than harder
– i am not saying one should be unaware of the big picture – for it is the big picture that got us out of the pond into the ocean ( leaving india, pursuing better opportunites outside etc – but that’s more to do with open mindedness than closed mentality is it not – i would never say we have to be closeminded no, openmindedness is key to life and a very improtant part of life), [shy]either I don’t get this part or we are saying the same thing in different words..puzzled!
BUT was it focusing on coming here that got you out or was it your EFFORTS, really using the moments and doing your best that got you here?[shy] Yes 100% sure that I focussed on coming here. Once I decided that everything I did was aligned to get here..such as changing career path, delaying marriage etc. If I did my Best effort in what I was doing, I would not have got here. I could have been something there. Efforts with out a PURPOSE to me is illogical.
So isn’t the journey just as important if not more?[shy] No, I wish that journey was faster, less trublesome
ok, there’s no right or wrong answers here and i am not trying to prove you wrong or anything like that – i am sure you know that[shy] I can agree to that, may be different perspective. but to make it very clear of what I said in the post( comments are long and winding), I will do another post
– but couldn’t help but add on,esp. since i have been coming back to this to see if there has been any comments and each time i visit, i re- read and thoughts pop up, take this as one such thought that i wanted to convey to you….ok? 🙂 love xx
[shy] love back you in tons and you know that too right? You know how much I appreciate your time and everybody’s time. The reason why I did not respond immediately to your comment(sorry never was intention to ignore you..I won’t do that) is because I wanted to stay away from the discussion for few days ( distract even more with few other posts) and come back to see any of my opions changed or I see things differently. good or bad, no nothing changed

i got here as soon as I saw your email ….

I am glad UL asked because I have been monitoring this place too and I have a compulsive need to summarize the take away.

You know Shy like how you say that focus on destination does not imply that the journey is not being enjoyed, focus on efforts does not imply that the goal or destination is forgotten. Of course, it is steered in that direction. I will wait for what you have to say in the sequel post before going on and on. This topic is very close to my heart. And I do think a healthy balance is necessary.

Shy…i wrote several times and then back tracked…not sure if this is going to makes sense either but I am not planning on deleting this…i think what i have been trying to convey has been interpreted differently..i agree that destination matters(no one can wander life without a goal, it is one of the most important things in life, where did you get the notion that i meant anything else?), i also agree that “winning” doesn’t necessarily mean “winning by unfair means” (not at all, because people succeed in other ways all the time, where did you get the notion that i meant anything else?),

When I asked “Why do you consider winning or making money a destination? why is it not right NOW? what YOU DO right NOW is what gets you THERE right? Or am I wrong? ”

You interpreted my question as “Why “NOW” is not the destination instead of “winning or making money”?”

That is not what i was asking. I was asking why you don’t consider winning or making money as THE focal point right now instead of making it something as a goal or a place to get to in the future. Once your goal is set whether it is to make money, or whether it is to win or whether it is to come abroad(like you did), each effort you make to win or make money or leave India to come abroad is finally what helps you to win or make money or brought you to Canada right?

So each of those efforts and each of those moments matters and is equally if not more important than what you are trying to achieve as the end result. Sure your efforts will change as your destination changes, but still it comes down to how much effort you put in to succeed or fail, yes? Most people are so goal oriented that they forget the journey( iam not saying you do or that journey doesn’t matter to you), they get attached to the goal so much that when it doesn’t happen, it opens up this gorge of disappointment within themselves….instead if they had focused on the journey and enjoyed the journey, they would feel satisfied that they did their best and their disappointment wouldn’t be as devastating. Sure they can put in more effort or pursue a different route to achieve their goals the next time round, but that doesn’t mean your efforts so far or the journey so far were wasted, those moments cout as experience and experience matters to succeed. So that’s why I think we should consider each moment as the only one we have and stay focused on that moment…consider each of those moment as time to make the effort to get us one step closer to whatever goal we have set for ourselves…and that 100% focused effort would only bring us happiness -which is what we all want from life, right? If there was a broad umbrella on top of winning or making money or any other goal we set ourselves to, i would name it “HAPPINESS” Eventually that’s the goal of human existence is it not?You might categorize it as philosophy that goes over one’s head but it is not, is it? It is too simple and too easy, so humans find it too difficult to interpret. Because life can’t be that simple, our minds have a way of telling us. But it can be. Everything we do is to make ourselves happy right? And that’s truly what I want…and that’s truly a WIN, oh YES I WANT to WIN that way. I LIKE To Win that way. So YES Shy, I like to Win, and WIN for good. Meaning I get to keep the trophy for good, not give it up and compete again and again – I want it to be everlasting. And that’s the goal we should all strive for. Nothing else would do – nothing that gives me momentary satisfaction is good enough, esp. whem it is that big WINNING umbrella that we WANT to win and keep! And to achieve that, I personally think “NOW” is all that matters, what we do “NOW” is all that matters, our “best effort” no matter what we are trying to achieve is all that matters…because when you give in 100% without being attached to the end result ( whether we are able to achieve that end result or not), 100% will come back to us. Such is life.

oh dearie UL, you know how much more I love you now! thank you for coming back to it, thank you for taking time to explain. And thank you, you hit the nail!! here here..we all live for HAPPINESS you hit the nail with that. and now I understand we all were talking the same thing but from different perspectives, different wordings.
thank you all for engaging me. I always say loud and clear, I like money, I love to be happy, I like to win, I love to live the NOW( never said otherwise)..
Thanks again. God bless you all

Thanks Shy…I am glad – I figured we were talking the same thing earlier…but I also figured our perspectives were such that – it didn’t seem like we were talking the same thing. So it took a little thinking and several deletes before I came up with that last comment. To be honest after all the discussions we have had, after all the thinking YOU have made me do with your side of the case, I needed that reminder just as much as I was trying to make my perspective clear to you….so I am eternally gratefully to you, buddy. And unfortunately I am not done with this post. Do bear with me please as I babble some more.

Like I said I needed that reminder to reset my goal in life as “Everlasting happiness” Not the kind that can be taken away, materialistic goals(like making money) bring us momentary happiness, momentary gratification but it is always followed by the question “what next?” “How can I make some more?” A new goal is set and pursued, then comes the question “what next?” And what next? And what next?
Those are choices we have in our hands. For some it is enough. For some not. This is where we realize the importance of goals.

Am I winning this way? Is it enough for me? Those are questions each person should ask themselves. Each of us in life have a choice, win little things or WIN big. Question is what would we chose? Knowing that there is something BIG out there, would we puruse the little things or find ways or routes to get to that BIG thing…because once we know what we want, the task is a lot more easier. It is just a matter of finding a way to get it.

For me personally and for that matter for most humans we don’t realize that we are looking for that umbrella of “Everlasting happiness”. We are looking for that goal in each of the material goals we set ourselves, but are these going to give us eternal happiness? No, never. Before we know, we will be running after the next goal. And the next. And the next. But they’re all little WINs. Or do we want to WIN big and reach the goal or destination and stay there, not give it up and ask “What next?” And my choice would be to hit that BIG jackpot. I WANT to WIN BIG. I want to hang on to what I WON. I want to hold on to that happiness no matter what. I want to be eternally happy. I am sure every human would take my side if they knew what was available to them.

But most people question “Is there some such thing as “Eternal happiness”? “. Most people have their doubts. They think it is Utopia, not realistic. Esp. when life is all about up’s and downs. How can one be fully happy all the time? Isn’t that impossible? “Of course it is impossible”, our minds have convinced us. Our egos tell us that it is “bull”. There is no such thing as “Everlasting happiness”. But STOP and THINK. What if there is? Nothing is impossible, esp. “everlasting happiness” is not something hard to achieve. Surely if we find a way and work towards the same, it is attainable. Oh yes, we will have several enemies to fight – the biggest would be our minds that cater to our egos. That’s where BG statement comes that I was telling you about. When Arjuna tells Krishna ” Mind seems more difficult to control than the wind” Krishna responds “Difficult but not impossible. With practice and detachment, it is posssible” Now what does he mean when he says that? He means to learn(practice) to let go of expectations. He means to learn(practice) to let go of attachments.

For example –
Attachment to the past, expectations of the future. Attachment to our family and friends, expectations from them. Attachment to our jobs, expectations of climbing that ladder, making more money. Materialistic goals always lead to attachments and expectations. What are these emotions going to give us? A boost to our ego if we win. A downfall to our ego if we lose. What if we didn’t have any(of these emotions) in the first place? What if we tried not to care about the past? It is gone, thinking about it will not bring it back. Thinking about it will only waste our present moment. What if we didn’t care about the future? Thinking about it won’t take us there(meaning to the future). What if we stayed completely present? In the moment. What if we just did what we had to do to the best of our abilities and stayed completely present? Afterall, this “present moment in time” is what makes “the past” or “the future” as we call it. What if completely stayed here in the “present” and did our best. Wont we be happy in our efforts? Hard to do when our mind(the biggest culprit) takes us back into the past, or into the future…so practice is key. How do we practice? I think we have to stay in each moment as though our past and our future are completely erased from memory. We have to stop living in our thoughts. We have to practice living in the NOW. We have to stay on top of our minds meaning we have to learn(practice) to control our minds which in turn will suppress our ego, which in turn will lead us to victory. And that victory would be with CAPITAL “V”. It is for keeps. No one, and I mean no one can take it away from us. We would truly “WIN” if that happens.

Is it easy? Oh yes, very easy to preach like what I have been doing. But bloody difficult to go down this path and practice, please excuse my language. But if we take one moment at a time, one step at a time – we are getting just one more moment closer to achieving our ends. Little steps, BIG Win, I think I can live with that, can’t you?

and one last line that I want to practice saying” LOUD and CLEAR”, and “MEAN IT WHEN I SAY IT” is

“I am in the NOW and I am happy”

OH so hard to do, esp. WHEN I have to mean it and be truthful from the bottom of my heart!

UL, I so agree with you. many a times a discussion brings clarity inot ones own thinking and beliefs. i had that moments of questiosning, realization adn confirmation during this discussion. thank you UL. you really took lot of your time and I can see and feel how convinced you are of each word you typed.

I would be lying if I say I am fully in agreement to what you say. similar not the same, differing perspective. Mind you I am not that learnt as you, don’t meditate. the eperiences that my perspective is different than yours and it is totally ok.

detachment, have no epectations etc are still at a philisophical level. yest to understand the practical aspect of in the ordinary day to day life. But you, a practising friend, a very very dear one at that, tells me it is possible..i believe you. but we are at different planes.
I enjoy my NOW ..am I happy all the time? no, not always..that is a honest as it be for an answer.
love my friend

honesty is good, Shy…and don’t for one instant think i am detached or do not have expectations… – but when something goes wrong, the practice and the knowledge grounds me and allows me to let go and move on…just a little, i know it will take me lifetimes…but am willing to make the journey, just to reach my goal! and i do want that long lasting happiness…really bad, and i can be stubborn when i want something…so let’s see how much i make of the moments I do get in this life…

at the moment I am happy 🙂 – i just need to hang on to that, with dear life.

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