Before reading this book by John Maxwell, the book's title "Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn" immediately made me associate this book with Ryan Holiday's The Obstacle is The Way. Both books have the main theme of using your failure as your opportunity to learn, improve, or advance, this book approaches the subject differently as Maxwell mainly uses his own life experience to support his arguments. Although I have to say that I love Holiday's book much more as I love his explanation on how to use the Stoic philosophy to see and approach your obstacles, Maxwell's book does still have some really nice lessons in it.
The idea of using your failure as an opportunity to improve yourself or even the situation is nothing new to me and should be nothing new to you. Yet, it is the type of thing that is so simple to understand but so difficult to apply. It is something that we need to remind ourselves of every single day. It is so easy to tell people to view the world that way while you don't notice you are the one who often got depressed or buried by failures.
If you are the type of person that believes you are almost always the smartest person in the room, you will have a hard time learning new things. Very often, you think that you are an expert in a certain field and you believe that you know everything about the subject. You can hardly accept new ideas or learn new skills of that subject if you have such "fixed mindset" as put by book author Carol Dweck.
When you are consistently feeling seriously frustrated by failures here and there and, as a result, begin to stop working with confidence and efficiency, the truth is that your reaction is what pulls you further and further away from success. In the book, Maxwell wrote "adversity writes our story" and I found that to be a great quote to inspire myself when I encounter obstacles. Think about it, if your goal is to get rich, it may seem like the best story ever if you can win the lottery at a young age. Let's just assume that another alternative is to hustle and eventually get rich between by dedicated twenty years of your life working on a business. Which story is a better story when your life is all set and done.
If you want to learn and eventually to win, you have to treat your work seriously and own it. Before blaming others, think about if you have actually done your part the right way. People that blame others first are very average people. Act like them if you want to be like them. If success is what you want, own the responsibility and do a better job next time.
You have to be mature in order to achieve success at a high level. To define maturity, Maxwell put it so well in the book, "Maturity is doing what you are supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, no matter how you feel." I bet many people are not committed to their work enough to follow the "no matter how you feel" part of the quote.
Think about some of you biggest past victories. Did you get those results by pulling a few all-nighters or did you get them by doing something consistently over a long period of time? These things that we do daily, or at least almost daily, also known as our habits are what push things forward. If people get tired of doing something after two weeks, and if you keep doing it daily for two years, I bet you have a much better chance of succeeding.
Valuable creations often require years to complete. If you always want to do what's best for today, or this hour, you would always be watching your favorite TV show or eating a ton of icecream as that's supposed to be what gives you the most fun instantly. As proved by the super famous marshmallow experiment, people who can resist instant gratification has the best chance of having success. Luckily, learning how to resist instant gratification is something that you can improve on. In fact, you can instantly improve at that by knowing the fact that instant gratification can be harmful to you.
When you are trailing by twenty points with only minutes left in a basketball game, you need hope to help you stand up straight and fight back. You can decide to have hope and try or you can decide not to have hope and give the game to your opponent with willing hands. Sometimes, you are one single thought away from getting yourself a chance to win, and that single thought is hope.
Being teachable doesn't only mean that you have to be humble. You have to actually be more than that. In a perfect world, your skills and knowledge would just stack up one on top of another flawlessly. But unfortunately in a real world, we are often taught the wrong things growing up. To further advance, sometimes we have to unlearn what we have learnt, in order to learn the correct or updated version.
Literature winner T. S. Eliot put it best, "The Nobel is a ticket to one's own funeral. No one has ever done anything after he got it." You simply don't want to be that guy who always talks about the one time he sells his company for millions of dollars while he has then lost his humbleness and wasted all his money after the victory. I have already read some really good books that talked about the above mentioned lessons, for example, books like The Obstacle is The Way, Extreme Ownership, Mindset and Grit. But the quote about what maturity is still sticks to my mind. I simply think that this is the best way I have seen anyone define what maturity is. Are you doing what you are supposed to do now, even if you feel like it or not?