The Winning Edge

What does it really take to win? What do you have to do to rise to the top of your chosen field? What does it take to become the best? Those are interesting questions and the answers might perhaps surprise you because it might not take quite as much as you might think.

This is something we have already discussed a little in a previous post. But, today I came across a Brian Tracy video in which he tells the story of a horse race. I remember using the story myself a number of years ago when I was invited to present on the importance of soft skills to a technical audience. The company I was representing had invited a group of VIPs to a day at the races and my slot was one of two pitches they would have to endure in return for a nice meal and a bit of fun.

In preparing my session, I thought it would be appropriate for me to use the analogy of a horse race to illustrate the point that the difference between winning and losing is often very small indeed. When I think back to the missed penalties at past world cups, the disallowed goals and the times the ball has missed the post by inches, there is no doubt in my mind that such events are often the crucial difference and a minor improvement in some key areas could easily make all the difference.

But let’s stay with the horse race story. The winner of a major event might get a prize of, say 100,000 guineas, second prize might be 10,000 guineas and third price might be 1,000 guineas. Of course, if your horse does not get into the top three finishers, as an owner, you don’t get any prize money at all. That might be very realistic i.e. the horse that comes in first gets ten times the prize money of the horse that comes second.

But in order to win the event, the horse does not need to train ten times harder, it does not need a jockey that is ten times as good, it does not need to eat ten times more oats. All it needs to do is just be a little bit better than the horse that comes in second in order to win ten times the prize money. The thing is that this is also true in many areas of life. Brian talks about selling in his video because he trained sales people and he suggests that if you could get just a little bit better at the key skills, you could easily increase your results by a factor or five or ten times by using exactly the same principle.

Of course, when you are striving to succeed at whatever it is you are doing, the idea of trying harder may seem like a message you don’t want to hear. But the key here is to understand that the difference between being an average performer and being a top performer is often not as great as you might think.

So, what are the key skills you need to perfect? Would you be prepared to identify just three of them and work on yourself until you achieve mastery? If so, that may be all you need to do to make a huge leap in terms of your results. By so doing, you will firmly separate yourself from the rest of the field. You will, in effect, be doing just a little more than the others. But those are the things that will put you a nose in front and you will begin to reap the entirely disproportionate benefits of being a winner.

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