Play to Win – Choosing growth over fear in work and life : Book Summary

Play to Win is a wonderful book by Larry Wilson and Hersch Wilson. Here is the summary of the book.

The great adventure

The most important adventure that we will undertake is that of our life. Life would seem to have a lot of dangers and barriers. But a lot of these barriers and dangers do not exist . We can choose to accept herd wisdom and stay quiet and not grow. We can see that these barriers are not true and go our own way. It is up to us.

We can make it our goal to survive. Or we can make it our goal to thrive. To thrive we need  mental, emotional and spiritual growth.

Emotional and spiritual growth

Emotional maturity is having access to and control over the emotional energies required to respond optimally to life’s events. It means being self-aware, managing emotions, motivating ourselves, feeling empathy and handling relationships.

This emotional growth goes hand in hand with spiritual growth. Spiritual growth consists of two things:

  1. Answering and living the answers to the questions: Why am I here? and What is my life about?
  2. The shift from ‘me’ to ‘we’. Seeing yourself as a part of the whole, getting involved with others and serving others.

This means to see the big picture, live courageously and take risks, and make a difference to the world.

The two games of life

In all of life we can play two games:

  1. Playing not to lose: Avoiding situations where we might lose, fail, be emotionally hurt or rejected or lose status or a sense of belonging.
  2. Playing to win: Consciously choosing to go as far as I can with all that I have and learning from whatever happens. To be comfortable being uncomfortable.

One of them leads to growth while the other leads to stagnation.

Winning and losing

Success: External measure of achievement. Needs hard work, talent, perseverance and a little luck. The opposite of failure.

Fulfillment: Internal measure of meaning.The opposite of depression. Who am I? Why am I here? Comes from three things:

  • Creativity and meaningful work
  • Relationships and love
  • When confronted with unchangeable fate, to be able to change our attitude towards that fate-to turn suffering to human triumph
  1. Contentment=Fulfillment+failure
  2. Abundance=Fulfillment+success
  3. Rust out= Depression+ failure
  4. Burn out= Depression+ success

The strategic thinking processes:(STPs)

  1. I cannot fail, I can only learn and grow.
  2. My purpose is to help my customers get what they want.
  3. Visioning: How do I want the future to turn out?
  4. How can I create a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship?
  5. How can I lead the team?
  6. How can I add unexpected value to the relationship?
  7. How can I leverage my learning?

The rules of results

  • We cannot control the results we get. We can influence the results we get by acting in certain ways but we cannot guarantee the result.
  • The results we are getting are the results we should be getting. It is the law of cause and effect, not magic. Everything is there to create the result we are getting and nothing to prevent it from happening.
  • If we want to change the results we are getting, we have to do something differently.

The results model

  • An event happen.( not within your control)
  • We interpret that event.( within your control)
  • We respond in a particular way( feelings and behaviour)( within your control)
  • We get a result.( not within your control)

The map and the territory

The territory is what is. It is truth in the absolute sense. The map is our interpretation of what the territory is. It is our truth. It is what we believe to be true. It might or might not be true. The more emotionally healthy we are, our maps show the territory more accurately. A lot of the problems occur because our maps do not accurately reflect the territory. This is because we make them up(MSU-make stuff up). We make stuff up about ourself, our family, our work, others and that causes problems.

Stop, challenge and choose( Event, interpretation, response)

This method is used when we are confronted with an event or problem that initially makes us feel different from positive or normal.

Stop: stopping before we respond to an event before thinking

  • Don’t act or react
  • Breathe
  • Center
  • Observe: what is the big picture? Have I felt this way before? What does this situation remind me of? How was I feeling right before the event?

Challenge: Asking questions: What am I telling myself, making up or believing that is causing my feelings? What are other interpretations of this event? What are the objective data that support or negate my interpretation?

Choose: Selecting a more proper interpretation and acting on it. Doing something different to get a different result. What is my ideal response?-based on objective and factual data? based on my long-term best interests? Choose that and use it.

Thinking rationally

Three steps:

Discover objective reality: Discriminate between what a camera would see and your interpretation of what’s happening

Diversify your interpretations: What are other interpretations of the event? What are other interpretations of the event from people who think differently than you do? What are the interpretations of the event from people who are different from you in terms of age, gender, social status, nationality or beliefs?

Determine what is your best interests: Is my thinking helping me protect my life and health? Will my thinking help me achieve my short and long-term goals? Will my thinking best help me avoid my most undesirable conflicts with others? Will my thinking help me feel emotionally the way I want to feel?

Using more accurate and rational language

Avoid catastrophising-thinking of the most awful possible scenario by using the mini max technique.

This is as follows:

  1. Stop: Breathe, calm down and try to relax. Observe.
  2. Challenge: What is the objective reality? What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best thing that could happen? What is the most probable thing that could happen?
  3. Choose: Choose an interpretation based on objective and factual data and in your long-term best interests.

Instead of absolutes, use more accurate knowledge: Be specific. Avoid generalizing. Avoid using the words ‘always’ and ‘never’. Try using and thinking with expressions like: …these 3 people share this characteristic…I have seen twice…Under these conditions, this tends to happen…

Instead of ‘I can’t’ try using more accurate knowledge: This is difficult, possibly very difficult, but not impossible. Because I failed the first time, I am closer to the solution for the problem.

Instead of ‘I need’ use ‘I want’ or ‘I prefer’.

Instead of using ‘It will be awful’  use ‘It will be inconvenient’

Instead of cursing someone think ‘That guy is a FHB-fallible human being’

The developmental journey

We cannot grow until we reject comfort and embrace risk, danger and pain. We have to go from me to we. We have to get rid of the notion that our little self is important and search for higher meaning.

Events happen. We respond based on our maps. Result happens. Event. Map. Response. Result.

To grow we have to get rid of fear( false events appearing real). The four fatal fears are:

  1. I fear failure. I need to succeed. Success should mean doing your best, not being the best. Competition is okay but winning is not the goal. Growing is.
  2. I fear being wrong. I need to be right. Not risking when could be wrong.
  3. I fear rejection. I need to be accepted.
  4. I fear being emotionally uncomfortable. I need to be comfortable.

The playing not to lose philosophy

We want to survive emotionally. We do not want to get hurt. We have a scarcity mentality and we don’t trust. We avoid being wrong, being rejected, failing and being emotionally uncomfortable. We engage in self-protection, self-promotion, stay inside our comfort zone, think irrationally, have a closed mind and blame others. The results we get are being right, being successful, being in control, being accepted, comfort and convenience.

The playing to win philosophy

We believe that life is growth. We want to grow emotionally and spiritually. We have an abundance mentality and we trust. We go as far as we can with all that we have and learn from whatever happens. We base truth on objective reality, make decisions rationally, give our personal best, get out of our comfort zone and take accountability. We believe we can’t fail, we can only learn and grow. The results are truth, growth, fun, curiosity, relationships, joy, better health and understanding.

Spiritual growth

Our false self is self promotion and self protection. Our true self is self expression and serving others. Serving others and expressing that service through our unique and important work is the secret. We need empathy- to sift our focus to the other person. To do that we need understanding- letting go of our incomplete maps and interpretations and understanding someone else’s. Once we truly understand someone else acceptance becomes possible-the ability to embrace the differences, the frailties and the inconsistencies of others. We then get involved-spending time and energy to serve another person. This leads to discovery of our true self.

Using your talents

Talent is what is easy to do for you and you don’t remember learning it. You have to use your talent to do important work: work that will make a positive difference, work that will make the world a better place. You can do what you love or you can learn to love what you do and bring service and meaning to the work that you do. Fear often stops us from doing these things. But fear not. Stop, challenge and choose.

Six steps

Intention + Action = Results

  • Identify your values. What are your top ten values?
  • Identify your talents. What are your  talents?
  • Create a purpose statement
  • Develop your personal vision statement: What will you be doing and what will it feel like?
  • Plan: Strategies, Tactics(who, what, when, how), find obstacles and how you will overcome, what support will you need and how will you ask for it.
  • Refine, share and use your plan.

Two quotes

Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you are going to die tomorrow.

Everything can be taken from a man except one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.

 

 

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