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Are You Running To Win Or Running To Live (by George Guzzardo)

Posted by Life Leadership Forum , in Following, Success 14 June 2014 · 1,298 views

George Guzzardo
Could it be that our biggest challenge in today’s society is the paradox that we work hard for forty - five years, retire on our savings or investments, move to a golf course community or vacation by a fishing resort, and spend the remainder of our days in bliss? How many of us have met someone with a not so financially secure future but thought they were winning because they were busy doing everything they were told to do? Statistics show that most people have almost nothing in their savings account, but have bank loans and credit card balances. Most people believe that being busy is winning. Doesn’t everyone appear to be busy, busy, busy, running to live? It seems like people are running all over the place.

This was not always the case. In the eighteen hundreds the majority of our population were entrepreneurs or businessmen. They arrived in this country with the intent of pursuing the American dream. Most of the people who came here left behind a life of limitations with the intention of pursuing an ‘opportunity'. In those days people were running to win. In the LIFE Leadership CD, ‘The Ant and the Elephant’ we saw where this country became great from letting the ‘Elephant’ (sub conscious mind) run loose. It appears, that over the last one hundred and fifty years we have trained the ‘Ant’ (conscious mind) to become dominant over the ‘Elephant'.

In essence we’ve taken the majority of our population away from the idea that they are running to win in the game of life. How do you know if you are running to win or running to live? If your last 365 days look like tomorrow, you are running to live. If you never leave your comfort zone, you are running to live. If what you are doing today looks entirely different because you’ve targeted a goal and you are doing something new, and a little uncomfortable, you are running to win. You win when your life is fulfilled not when your days are familiar. Most people believe they are running to win because they compare themselves to their neighbors or co – workers. But the next one thousand days will have resembled the last one thousand days except for our age, and the kid’s ages. Financially we’ve been taught to get our hopes up for some security in our savings or investments. This insures that we stay in our comfort zone until we get to the end point and we realize that where we thought we would end up was not going to happen. It’s scary knowing that 80% of the population relies on their financial security in the financial market.

I believe there are three major factors involved in making the ‘Ant’ (conscious mind) dominant over the ‘Elephant’ (sub conscious) mind. Many of these factors have influenced our lifestyles as well. They come from focusing our activities from a purpose driven life to a ‘making a living’ driven life. Those factors are finance, education, and media. With finances as the central hub of our survival, this makes us focus on day - to - day activities to produce a paycheck. Instead of running to win we begin to run to live. This in turn puts most of the population owing bank, car, or credit card loans. Many of the explanations about how that came about is best described from best selling author Orrin Woodward’s new book ‘And Justice for All'. From that book we can learn about how financial institutions manipulate the economy. The drive for a financially secure life influences our behaviors. In addition, the education system has changed dramatically over the last one hundred years from a classical liberal education, which once fed the entrepreneurial spirit of our country to a ‘compulsory’ education. H.L. Mencken wrote in the ‘American Mercury’ on April 1924, “To fill the young species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence… Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim…is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same sage level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States…and that is its aim everywhere else.” It was in 1886 that John Dewey created the famous ‘Laboratory School'. Dewey wanted to test certain philosophical and psychological ideas in practical application with real live children. That system was based on molding children and conditioning them to behave in certain ways. Is that where we first encounter the fact that other people control and govern our lives? In addition to those institutions that influence our lives, the media has become a principal arm designed to mold the individual. Jacques Ellul felt that the most effective way to seize a man and influence him is by mass media. In his book ‘Propaganda', Ellul writes that "Education and training must be taken over, technology must be at the disposal of the press, radio, T.V. and (internet) and must be continuous and lasting. It is based on slow, constant impregnation. It must deal with the individual’s beliefs or ideas to influence them."

We’ve told people they are winning based on how they are doing compared to their neighbors or co - workers. When you drive down the road you live on, do most of the houses look the same? How can we tell if we are running to win or running to live since everyone “thinks” they are winning? One study asked managers what rank they would measure their success? 80% of the managers rated themselves in the top 20%. To really know if you are winning, you must have measurable goals. It requires three components: 1. You need to be going somewhere measurable. It might be business, relational, or purposeful. 2. There must be a time limit on when you get there. 3. It requires a scoreboard. Without a scoreboard you are probably fooling yourself. Read the book LeaderShift. It would be helpful to enlist a mentor to discuss some of your goals and ways to measure them. There is a direct connection to your leadership and achieving your goals. For example, it takes a vision of a future reality, integrity, and will power to perform out of your comfort zone. One of the most exciting parts of living a fulfilling life is to run for thirty - day goals. You will do things during your month with a goal that you wouldn’t have done without a goal. Without a goal we tend to stay in our comfort zones and don’t stretch. Can we win without bringing out our best?

When you watch the NBA or the NHL during the playoffs you get the idea about performance and goals. I remember growing up playing hockey. I wasn’t big but I was quick. I was also competitive because I had a goal to win. I know I aggravated some opposing players because I would never give up. If we lived our lives running to win it would bring out the best in us. Now I’m not talking about sports, I’m talking about LIFE. It might be measured in making a difference, servant leadership, or maybe even preserving the freedom of a future generation. Weren’t we made to give our personal best or were we made to give our personal average? Maybe I’m wrong or maybe I’m right and maybe it’s possible that we won’t know till we get to the finish line. But, what if eventually we could measure if we were running to live or running to win? Laurie Woodward quoted something profound at a meeting last month, “It’s not your time it’s God’s time.” In the end, when your at the finish would you like to say I ran to live or I ran to win?

God Bless, George Guzzardo

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