Have you ever been blind sided by an unexpected event that threatened to throw your dreams, hopes, and life plans off-course? If nothing that grandiose has happened (lucky you!), how about just being surprised by small obstacles that threaten to ruin your day?
Big or small, unexpected events will happen. You can not avoid them, you can only control how you respond to them. It is in those critical moments after the unexpected occurs that ultimately determine your long term success. Think about it: anyone can do well when everything is going great. What separates people who succeed (the Winners) from those who don’t and just complain about it (the Whiners) is how well they respond to life’s inevitable curveballs.
How can you make sure you respond to the unexpected like a Winner and not a Whiner? Here are six traits that separate the two:
1) Whiners Focus on the Past, Winners Focus on the Present and Future
Whiners love to dwell on the past. “I wish this never happened!” or, “if you had just done what I said we wouldn’t have this problem,” or everyone’s favorite, “I told you this would happen!” The past is done and over and can not be changed. For some reason this simple concept eludes Whiners.
Winners understand that we live in the here and now. Rather than dwelling on the past, Winners focus on the future they want to create and think of actions they can take in the present to make that future happen.
2) Whiners Cast Blame, Winners Take Responsibility
When something goes wrong, the Whiner’s “blame radar” kicks into full gear and they start a CSI style investigation to find the guilty party. This hurts morale and takes away energy from the most important task: fixing the problem! Winners take responsibility and simply say, “what can I do to solve this now?”
There is a time and place to identify what went wrong, why it happened, and what can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That time and place is after the crisis is resolved, not before.
3) Whiners React, Winners Think
By, “Winners think,” I do not mean that they put things off for days; they usually think quite quickly. The important thing is that they take a short period of time to analyze the situation, think about their goals, and figure out what the best course of action is.
Whiners react in one of two ways: 1) They jump into the first action that comes to mind just so they feel like they are doing something (no matter how pointless it may be) or 2) they react out of stress and do something stupid like snap at their loved ones or throw in the towel and quit.
4) Whiners Freeze, Winners Take Action
On the flip side, once Winners have thought things through, they take action. They are smart enough to know that ideas without implementation are meaningless. Whiners, once they have gotten past their knee-jerk reactions, freeze up and get paralyzed. I call this “curling up on the couch,” syndrome. Rather than doing something, whiners curl up on the couch watching TV, hoping the problem will go away on its own.
5) Whiners Look for Validation, Winners Lead by Example
The most annoying thing about Whiners is that they are not content in their whiney solitude. No, they find it necessary to share their complaints with people around them in hope that others will validate their issues with a “you’re right,” or “yes, I feel the same way.” Rather than do something about the problem, Whiners seek out comfort in others. Winners take charge, take action, and lead by example. While others are sharing complaints, the Winners say, “here’s what happened, and here’s what I’m going to do about it. Who’s with me?”
6) Whiners Waffle, Winners Decide
When change throws them off course, Whiners refuse to decide on a course of action. Trapped wishing that things had never changed, Whiners waffle between all their options and hold of making a decision as long as possible. Winners weigh their options and pick a course of action. They know that even if they end up not picking the best choice, some action is better than none. And the sooner they take action, the sooner they can get feedback on those actions and make adjustments.
The lesson here is simple: Winners win and Whiners lose. If you want to succeed in the face of life’s unexpected curveballs, make sure you act like a Winner!
Avish Parashar is the Motivational Smart Ass. As a speaker and on his blog, Avish makes people laugh while sharing with them simple ideas to make their lives easier and more successful. To read more of his ridiculous rantings on self improvement, watch videos of him in action, and download the free “How to Think Quick” MP3, visit http://www.MotivationalSmartAss.com