With so much pressure on people to be successful, have money, look a certain way, it has become very difficult to know if you are winning in life or just flat out losing. I find myself questioning my efforts and levels of success all the time. However I read a very inspiring quote this morning from one of the greatest coaches of all time, Mike Ditka. He said, “You’re Never A Loser Until You Quit Trying.” After reading that for the first time, and letting it sink in for a few minutes, I gave myself some time to think about the real meaning of winning versus losing:

1) What You Have Doesn’t Make You A Winner Or Loser

Everyone in society today is measuring themselves against one another. Life in general has become a huge rat race just to see who is outdoing one another, creating “winners” and “losers” – the nicer car, the better job, the bigger house, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love all of those things and I am definitely not one to sit on my high horse and say those things don’t matter to me at all. I am motivated by extravagance and I want to have material things – that’s okay. But at the end of the day it’s not at my core, it’s not all I care about. I absolutely put my family, my health, and my happiness above all of that.

One thing I can say is that I definitely do not think anything less of someone who does not want or care about those things. Just because someone doesn’t own a new car or live in a new house or have some fancy job, does not make them a “loser”. This is where some of Ditka’s words come into play for me. A person should not be labeled by their possessions or status, but by their character. If someone doesn’t have all those fancy things, that may be because they don’t want them (see Mark Zuckerberg in a hoodie, jeans and flip flops). Some people may give 110% at work and love what they do, but just don’t care to spend money like that.

2) Your Skill Set Doesn’t Make You A Winner Or Loser

Since working with the University of Arizona football team there has been a slogan that has stuck with me forever. “Hard Work Beats Talent, When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard”. This is motivating for multiple reasons. You may not be as talented as the person next to you but if you are working harder than them, giving your entire effort, you have every chance to beat them if they aren’t giving their full effort. It also speaks to those that are really talented to let them know that if you aren’t working hard, someone less talented may come out of nowhere and beat you. The same applies for the work place and the effort put forth on a daily basis.

This is a beautiful thing because it applies to so many different scenarios and is a real validation of what Ditka is saying. If you go out there and give all of your effort you can beat anyone on any given day. It’s about putting that effort out there and making something happen, not just sitting around and hoping an opportunity magically comes to you.

3) Quitting Makes You A Loser

Quitting was probably the number one thing my parents drilled into my head since I was a young kid, aside from the usual – don’t swear, don’t lie, don’t cheat, etc. My parents always told me that no matter what I do, I am not allowed to quit. I can appreciate what they were saying and there was multiple times where I just wanted throw my hands up when there was something I didn’t like or wasn’t good at. But their words rang in my ear that there are people depending on me, I committed myself and I need to see it through. Even though I wasn’t the best or may have only made a small contribution, I wasn’t giving up or letting my team down by not trying. If I would have just given up, THAT would have made me a loser.

When it comes to a real secret to winning it is never giving up. Sometimes the journey or the experience is the real win, not the end result. Mike Ditka’s quote, “You’re Never A Loser Until You Quit Trying,” can be applied to anything in life – relationships, work, school, you name it. The bottom line as that you shouldn’t give up on people, you shouldn’t give up on yourself, and definitely don’t give up on your dreams. So give yourself a chance to be great, do something different today, and make that extra effort. Remember, quitting is easy and nothing great has ever come without a little bit of struggle!