Winning — while wonderful — is only temporary.
Nobody goes into a competition wanting to lose. We want to win. We want to prove to ourselves that we are above our competition. We want to be able to prove that our hard work mattered. The time spent training resulted in the win.
But what happens the day after you win a medal or trophy? Are you still walking around wearing the medal? Likely not. You’ve put the trophy on the shelf. You’ve hung the medal up. You’ve moved on from the win. You’ve either resumed your routine, be it a sport or activity, or you’re looking for the next thing.
What don’t you do the day after a win?
You don’t stop. You continue working on improving yourself for the next win.
Do winners just go back to regular life the next day? Is that the difference between a winner and a champion? Are champions the few that hang up the medal and continue training, continuing improving for the next competition?
The short answer is no. A champion is one that has won a contest. It doesn’t imply that the person will defend his title in another contest. A winner is someone who has won or often wins. Both winners and champions hang up their medals or store their trophy's when the contest or tournament is completed. The true winner will continue to train, or practice his skill after a win.
True winners continue practicing and improving for the next tournament.
I watched the Joe Rogan podcast with Israel Adesanya, the UFC Middleweight Champion. Israel mentioned that he wants to be the best. He talks about what he wants to improve and positive and negative things he did in his fights. But what resonated with me the most is that he was looking forward to going home and training. He is the Middleweight championship yet all he wants to go home and continue training. There’s no stopping for winners.
Tomorrow the medal will be in the bin. What will you do then?
My master in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a 6 degree black belt, always says you win today but tomorrow the medal will be in the bin. Tomorrow your win doesn’t matter. So you can either pat yourself on the back for days after your win and be content with that, or you can get back on the mat and keep working. Continuously working and improving is essential for long term success.
I haven’t had many repeated wins. In college, I won VP of the Women’s Society of Engineering one year and lost the next. I lost the second year because I didn’t try. I assumed I’d win. Looking back at it, I’m not surprised with my loss. I am surprised that I didn’t put in any effort to win. Lesson learned. To remain a winner, you have to continuously put in the work.