Home Editorials Winning, regardless of the cost

Winning, regardless of the cost

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

It is sad but we are becoming a society where winning is everything, and nothing seems to be sacred in accomplishing that goal. While it is nice to win or be considered the best, we cannot dismiss the manner in which those results are obtained. Unfortunately, lying, cheating, and immoral practices are becoming commonplace in a generation obsessed with winning at any cost. Teaching competitive sportsmanship or the joy of competing, in general, doesn’t seem to resonate with competitors obsessed with winning at any cost.  This winning obsession is prevalent in all venues whether sports, corporate, entertainment, or business. We have been exposed to movies, songs, and social media implying that anything less than winning is meaningless or inconsequential. Make no mistake: winning is nice, but one must also feel good about how you won. Fraudulent, deceptive and unsportsmanlike behaviors should not be acceptable factors to bring about a win.

We have unscrupulous, scandalous politicians, athletes, entertainers and high-profile individuals who are lauded and praised with awards and accolades that should be awarded to more credible, moral, and deserving competitors. When you see undeserving people winning awards or accolades, it diminishes the credibility of the award and the recipient. But what is so despicable in so many cases is the length some individuals or groups will go to win.

I would argue that there is no venue more deceptive and immoral than politicians set on winning at any cost. Some of these politicians seem to take pride in being mendacious and selling the public snake oil. They don’t appear to have any shame in their game when resorting to the lowest levels of deception to win. Humility is not one of their attributes, and they are masters of manipulating credulous people. To add insult to injury, the very people deceived are often adamant defenders of these ‘winners’ even when they are found guilty of malfeasance, lying, deception, or manifesting unbridled disrespect.

We have become a society where winning is the only thing that counts. We frequently dismiss the unsavory measures that may have been used to obtain victory. Normalizing and accepting any means to obtain a win is nothing to be proud of. Isn’t it ironic that in our formative years, we were taught to honor and applaud the virtues of honesty, integrity, respect and morality only to see in later years the excepted hypocrisy in exploiting these virtues? 

Obsessing over winning has left many losers depressed and even suicidal. The honor and privilege of competing and being recognized in competitions seem to have been lost if you don’t win. Unfortunately, failure has become synonymous with losing, even if you are competing with your equals. This serves to decimate one’s self esteem and worth.

In reality, all competitors are winners and should be proud. Our obsession with winning is a lurking liability that will present dire consequences in future generations if not addressed. Sometimes when you win you lose, depending on the price you pay to attain that win. Selling or sacrificing your self-dignity makes you a loser despite being declared a winner.

One would assume some houses don’t contain mirrors where their occupants can see their true selves. I am reminded of the statement: “What has a man gained to win the world but lose his soul.” 

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