Potential ingredients for personal victory include:
– We have done our absolute best
– Actions are taken consistent with core values like truth, integrity and mutual respect
– No one wins unless everyone wins
– A clear conscience
– We did not shrink from difficulty
– The basis for everything is unconditional love.
How well do these criteria describe victory for you? What else would you add? What would you delete or change? Are these elements directly applicable to your everyday life?
Victory in its most meaningful sense is aligned with higher purpose. A passage from the Bible says, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” In other words, can you truly be victorious if you win all the worldly games, but forfeit yourself?
A spiritual component of victory can deepen our understanding of what it means to win. Obviously, winning at all costs is inconsistent with moral or ethical conduct. Victory is not really victorious if it means violating your conscience and what you stand for.
In our culture, we are often given mixed messages about what comprises victory. There is huge emphasis, for example, on financial accomplishment, yet often people who achieve great things financially find that their financial victories don’t guarantee happiness.
What are your standards of conduct in seeking victory / winning / fulfillment / accomplishment? Is there just one moral code regarding your victories, or do you have different rules for personal and business? What role, if any, does spirit – however you define it – play in your life regarding victory?
The use of the term “victory” in connection with personal fulfillment has been problematic because the origin of the word “victor” connotes “conquer.” Conquering is inconsistent with our intended understanding of victory.
Some other words that could describe personal victory include: fulfillment, win, attainment, arrival, triumph and success. The opposites of victory are even more telling: failure, loss and defeat.
The challenge and opportunity is to use the word “victory” with no sense of domination, violence or creating a loss for another person.
What victories have you created in your life that have not caused someone else to lose? Is there another way that you prefer to better communicate your sense of victory that we are describing? Describe the feeling of personal victory: what are the sensations that are present at a moment of victory?
Victory can be very broadly defined if and when it is not limited to a conventional definition of winning. Peace Activist, Daisak Ikeda, said:
“Strength is Happiness. Strength is itself Victory. In weakness and cowardice, there is no happiness. When you wage a struggle, you might win or you might lose. But regardless of the short-term outcome, the very fact of your continuing to struggle is proof of your victory as a human being.”
Do your beliefs allow you to define victory as strength when you are engaged in a struggle? How attached have you been to an old-paradigm definition of winning which has only recognized what might be called “the score on the scoreboard at the end of the game”? How do we best reconcile our desire to have both a “winning score” as well as victory in how we have “played the game”?
I once had the occasion to see Zig Ziglar speak to 12,000 people at the Anaheim Pond. At an intermission, he drew my business card out of a big barrel of cards – which entitled me to win books and tapes (at that time) for a half dozen of his programs. I went on stage to shake his hand, and I got to see how fun it is to stand in front of 11,999 people.
He said that the primary motivator for human beings is victory – not winning over someone else, but personal victory. Being victorious in this sense means manifesting a result that is consistent with your core values. Joy and delight were primary among the core values that I felt in that moment – and he was right: it felt like victory.
How do you define victory? Has the concept of victory engaged competitiveness for you in the past? If so, it may not be pure victory. In fact, a focus on competition may miss the point of victory altogether. What is the distinction between winning and victory? There is no struggle in victory.