Be a Real Winner

Be a Real Winner

If you’re just heading into the adult world, or if you’ve been in it a short while, you’ve probably observed all the members of both teams getting trophies just for competing. Or you’ve been part of a class where every student has been told he or she is amazing and everyone’s a winner, or where children learn to sing songs of praise to their own wonderfulness. If so, I’m sorry. You’ve grown up in a world gone crazy—in more ways than this book can address. One of the biggest challenges of people growing up now is the need to throw off the silliness about everyone being a winner and automatically being a remarkable and special human being.

Technically, we’re not all winners because we all can’t win. In a competition, someone wins and someone loses. Or one team wins and the other loses. That’s life, and it doesn’t affect a person’s worth one bit.
Let me set the record straight: we are all worthy of respect because we are human beings. We all have inborn dignity. We need to know that for ourselves—always—no matter what happens to us. We also need to remember this when we deal with others: everyone else is as worthy of respect as we are.

More than being worthy of respect, all individuals are special because they are the one and only them alive. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: only you can be the best you possible. You’re here for a reason, even if you don’t know yet what that is. No one has your particular combination of gifts and talents—no one! You may not be as good-looking (as society defines it) or sing as well or be as smart as someone else. But you have a family and a circle of friends and neighbors and a set of opportunities and talents (probably many of them still hidden at the moment) that make you a one-of-a-kind.

So stop comparing yourself. Others are there for us to learn from, not so we can get down on ourselves because we think we don’t measure up. If someone compares you unfairly to someone else, don’t listen to the voice that says you’re less than someone else. Try to learn from the comparison and grow from it. There will always be people who do things better than you and worse than you. Learn from the first group and be an example and a help for the second group.

Once you’ve settled it forever in your heart and mind that you have value, please don’t stop there! Don’t camp out at a place where you’re always insisting on your own worth (even just to yourself) and then doing nothing because you’re worthy already. Build on that worth! Yes, you’re special—so do something with it. Get better at what you can get better at, knowing that there will always be some who will do it better than you and some who never do it as well as you.

Don’t let anyone or anything tell you you’re not worthy of respect. And don’t let anyone or anything—including yourself—stop you from building on it. What makes someone a winner is not that he or she is unique—everyone is! It’s what we do with what we are and have that makes the difference. And that’s what makes a person a winner.

For more information on the book, How to Act Like a Grown-up, go to