Winning Mentality: 10 Secrets to Developing & Maintaining it

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“You were born to win, but to be a winner you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”- Zig Zagler

A winning mentality is a mindset of growth, abundance, and success. It does not rest on the outcome but more so on our beliefs and a self-affirming attitude towards life.

It all starts in the mind and the stories we tell ourselves. A person with a winning mentality seeks growth in every opportunity. The next step is knowing how to nurture this mindset with the right planning, action, and habits.

In this article, we will be discussing 10 core principles that help winners operate at their best and strive for success wherever they are in life!

Why a winning mindset is the need of the hour

Success is not a temporary reality but rather a developed attitude and approach towards life. More than the work you put in, it’s your work ethic and your intention behind that action that gives it meaning.

What you think dictates your behavior and how you behave ends up defining your reality. Cultivating a winning mentality in today’s world means winning at living life optimally. It redefines success in terms of an abundance mindset and does not measure it in limited goals and numbers.

○ Mindset is Everything

mindset is everything for winning

For success to maintain momentum, having a growth mindset is non-negotiable. Successful people control their perspective of a situation more than their fixation on the outcome of it. 

growth mindset seeks to treat challenges as opportunities for learning more than anything else. Failures are met with grace because they serve as lessons for wiser decision-making in the future.

People succeed not because they are placed in favorable situations but because they know how to work their way around them. Their mindset tends to focus not on the lack of something but rather on the availability of other resources to get there.

This very way of thinking is called a growth or abundance mindset. People with this mindset win their way through life because they are geared for success mentally, irrespective of their position in life.

○ Fight the Good Fight

There is no denying that growth takes place outside our comfort zone. However, it isn’t always an easy feat to build an invincible winning mentality that rests on conscious, consistent effort. After all, it is much easier to blame the circumstance than assuming accountability for our own input.

Our ego makes us believe that failures define us and count as “setbacks”. However, fighting this notion to work on our real purpose behind how we think, behave and act is what matters most.

A winning mentality stems from the ability to see the road ahead and treat failures as “stepping stones” to growth.

When we reshift our perspective to this, we fuel ourselves with the motivation to thrive and not just survive.

10 Promising Methods for building a Winning Mentality

Now that we’re aware of just how crucial developing the right mindset is, the next step is how. The good news is that this way of thinking is not born but created. With the right actions and direction, it can be built and grown over time.

1. Preparing the Mind to Win

prepare to win

“To be prepared is half the victory.”- Miguel De Servantes

The will to win is of course important, but the will to prepare is crucial. Mastering our schedule is an integral part of any great performance. Successful people don’t just show up for an opportunity without a prepared plan of action or a premeditated strategy.

These people know that they can never entirely rely on their strengths and talents to win. They consider their weaknesses, prepare for setbacks and crises, and realize the need for an alternate plan B.

The power of preparation helps us attack our weaknesses instead of being fearful of them. It also helps us structure our progress with a blueprint in hand. A framework that helps us prepare well is “SMART” which stands for goals that are-

  • specific
  • measurable
  • achievable
  • relevant
  • time-based

Success requires consistent input and the grit or strength of character to bounce back from failures.

When you prepare yourself for adversity, you foresee the loopholes and know how to get back up and move forward. Angela Duckworth in her book ‘Grit’ talks about how this blend of passion and perseverance to stick to a plan ensures success more than mere talent.

2. Mastering Your Craft

Successful people are masters of their craft and not jacks of many trades. They perfect what they know best through constant research and practice.

Passion alone is not enough, and a vision without execution won’t do the job. This is why coaches and athletes know the importance of creating a strong foundation to build on further. A steady nucleus ensures that minor setbacks don’t break the momentum of someone who is determined to succeed.

This is why winners believe in fortifying their skills, knowledge, practices and even refining their intention to have a solid base to start with. When the purpose or fundamental principles of a business are strong, it takes much more to falter since we have enough experience and direction to ground us.

3. Set Your Mind on the Task at Hand

set mind on single task

The most efficient people are productive not because they make numerous to-do lists. In fact, it is because they know how to focus on a given task without any distractions whatsoever.

Author Nir Eyal writes about how we can manage our response to triggers that prevent us from focusing on the present task at hand. In his book “Indistractable“, he prompts the reader to ask themselves, “Is this trigger serving me or am I serving it?”

In the modern world, technology and social media serve as easy distractions that account for the proximate causes of our distractions. Nir suggests proactive ways to deal with them and take back control of our time and build mental toughness.

The second step is to ruthlessly prioritize your tasks in a journal, a Trello or a calendar. Remember that delegating work and using the synergy of others inputs and resources is an integral part of productivity and success.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of Change

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”- Heraclitus.

Winning does not require strength or intellect only; the ability to adapt to change is what ensures victory in the end. Such a mental training is known as an “Agile Mindset”.

No matter the hurdles faced or changes suffered, it seeks to find newer ways of solving the problem. With an agile mindset, you become flexible and focus on your response to the problem, not the problem itself.

Embracing change means reframing the obstacle at hand, challenging our own beliefs, and creating new possibilities. When you imagine and create your own reality, you gain a new perspective with whatever changes throw you off gear in life.

5. Losing is Okay, but to Quit Trying is not

never quit winning mentality

With a winner’s mindset, one is always willing to learn through trial and error. This is perhaps the number one quality that sets winners apart from the rest. You do not fail if you lose at something, but instead, if you quit and give up trying.

One of the best athletes the world has ever known, Michael Jordan is a prime example of this. He switched his sport at the peak of his career and took up the challenge of succeeding despite the odds.

Jordan knew that having an open mindset and the willingness to learn keenly from life is what determines success. Obstacles are only meant to be broken, climbed upon, or worked around with proper mental training.

Your genetics and talents can only help you at the starting point, but your hard work and attitude to build particular skill is what get you to the finish line. A winner’s attitude towards success will always seek growth even if met with failures and challenges.

6. Recognizing what’s working and what’s not

A winning mindset focuses on changing with the times and knows the importance of growth and innovation. It is important to reflect on the tools we use, our behavior, actions, and habits to understand what is working for us or against us.

Effective people are constantly on the lookout for ways of improving their skills and finding new, revolutionary ways to breakthrough. Advancing further in any field requires that we consciously adapt and adopt that which increases our output optimally at all stages.

Real progress is made when we move with time, not against it and use the current trends, ideas and practices to our advantage.

7. Always Encourage Healthy Competition

Healthy competition is good, necessary even. It pushes us beyond our comfort zone to be more innovative and creative. If it were not the case, we can easily run the risk of becoming too complacent with our performance.

Instead of getting consumed with jealousy and cynicism, it helps to instead be inspired and motivated by those who compete against us. Not only will failure then humble and ground us, but it will also teach us to work harder the next time.

Viewing competition as healthy encourages us to observe and learn from the qualities and principles of winners. A winning mindset is more about the attitude, lessons and experience gained from the entire process and not just points scored from beating a fellow competitor.

8. Always Have a Plan B

This is in tandem with the need and advantage of preparing well for success beforehand. Winners never leave things to luck or hope; they have it all mapped out and strategized.

Without an alternative plan for back up, it is easy to feel defeated and clueless after failure. However, having a second option in-store ensures that we can regain balance despite suffering a loss or a setback.

This strategy ensures that we readily have another route laid out for climbing the ladder to success. In the absence of this, it is easy to make excuses and give up. A Plan B means we will always have something to work with and not have to start from scratch.

9. Find a Support Group with a Winning Mentality

Find support group

“If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO”- Nora Roberts

Never let the fear of rejection stop you from asking for help or constructive feedback. People who end up achieving a lot in their careers are those that have never been afraid to ask for help.

The right advice and insight from the right people can make decision-making much easier for us. It helps to save time, keep us accountable and inspire us to make further progress.

In the company of the right support group, we are more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and use that synergy to yield better and bigger results. Unless we expose ourselves to other people, we will be limited to only our own ideas and definition of what success can look like.

10. Always study the best of the best

The most influential people of our time have always trained their mind by consciously observing and learning from other successful people. The reason why people want to learn the habits of highly successful people is because we know that they work.

Studying such people’s lives, teachings, and practices means imbibing timeless and favorable principles to anyone striving for excellence. The beauty of learning from the best also means that we are equipped with the right knowledge and do not squander time discovering what works and what does not.

It also helps to note that such people are not just students in their own individual fields; but more so students of life. They are always open to learning from others experiences, opinions and ideas as much as their own.

A Quick Glance at Building a Winning Mentality

The most prosperous people in the world also have the same 24 hours available to them each day. The only thing that sets them apart is their winning mentality and self-discipline. 

Winners know the importance of preparation and planning despite possessing the required skills and know-how. They always have a solid footing, know how to prioritize, and adapt well to whatever gets thrown their way.

With the right support group and the will to synergize with like-minded people, they view success as a multi-faceted process that grows when shared with others. Their will to learn from failure, see obstacles as catalysts to change, and constantly optimize their approach to success all helps develop and strengthen this mindset.

Lastly and most importantly, they always have their eyes set on the prize. They follow, learn and strive to be the best. A winning mindset to them is not just limited to succeeding in their individual spheres, but in experiencing the best of what life has to offer.

“Winners dont do different things, they do things differently” – Shiv Khera

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Suranya is an writer, lifestyle designer, and nature enthusiast. She is passionate about life, and everything it has to offer. She shares musings on philosophical insights, popular psychology, and holistic wellness.
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