"80% of swimmers like to win and 20% hate to lose and 95% of the Olympic team is from the 'hate to lose' group" - The Eddie Reese (US Olympic swim coach 2004-8).
I love reading biographies. They give you a unique insight into the mental attributes that drive the most successful people.
What is most interesting is that such attributes are common across a wide variety of fields: sports, business, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and so on.
One of the strongest forces is the healthy "hatred and maybe even fear of losing." It's amazing how common this is among Olympic-level athletes of course but also in people such as Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Ronald Raegan, Richard Branson, JFK, and many many more.
I've been pondering about this for a few days. When I put this in my own context or that of some clients, I'm beginning to spot a clear trend:
- People who are ambitious but are somewhat struggling seem to "dislike to lose"
- People who seem to bounce back the quickest from setbacks and go on to achieve their goals have a "deeply rooted and absolute hatred of losing".
But this doesn't always mean winning against another person. In fact, it's often in a game played with yourself: My hatred for losing an argument about any subject (a frequent complaint by my wife!) drives my thirst for knowledge.
My hatred in losing when trying to help someone reach their goal (weightloss, athletics, career, relationships, etc) means I never give up and I'll do whatever it takes to learn and then pass on the knowledge needed to achieve such goals.