(Investigator 17, 1991 March)

Most people want to be winners:

Top at school.
Best in sport.
First in popularity.
Highest position at the office.

And so on.

Parents push their kids to excel. Spouses push each other. Workaholics push themselves. And so on.

But winning isn't normal.

If you think skeptically about it for a minute you'll see that winning is not normal.

In a race only one person can win of hundreds who train and run. At school only one person can come top of the class. At the office only a few can reach the top jobs. And so on.

Of course training and preparation make a difference.

Training and preparation involve knowing your goal, regularly testing yourself, applauding yourself as you get better, stating your goal to others so as to increase your sense of commitment, persistence, encouraging yourself (or others if it's a team thing), and avoidance of complaining.

The difference all this can make is not in the number of winners but in who those winners turn out to be. The fact still remains that winning isn't normal. In every contest only one side can come out on top.

Even if you're the best prepared and the hot favourite you still might lose:

"the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all," (RSV Bible Ecclesiastes 9:11)
Winning isn't normal and most of us won't win. But having goals and training for them will lead to personal improvement. Reaching high will keep you on your toes.

Be skeptical of those who promise victory – because winning isn't normal.