In sports, a distinction is made between teams who “play not to lose” and teams who “play to win.”
The former doesn’t expect to win. They may have the desire, but they lack the conviction that they have what it takes to ultimately succeed. Instead, they settle for being competitive. Their primary goal is to put forth a respectable effort while ensuring that the other team works up a good sweat en route to inevitable victory.
Teams who “play to win” have an entirely different mentality. They have their eyes on the prize and are “in it to win it.” Their agenda is neither defensive nor neutral. They want nothing short of being crowned “the winner” at the match’s end.
Optimism is sometimes perceived and advanced from the perspective of those who approach the game of life with a play “not to lose” attitude. Positive thinking is often seen as a consolation prize for an unpleasant life. From this vantage point, life really does stink and the best we can hope to do is be a good sport about it. Positive thinking is simply a coping mechanism that allows us to get through the day after our circumstance have already been defined by a pessimistic perspective.
Here’s another way to see it;
Optimism is about playing to win.
Optimism isn’t just there to help you cope with negativity. It’s there to relentlessly challenge negativity. It doesn’t concede any negative interpretations of reality without first contesting it from all sides. Every negative assumption is called into question with the highest scrutiny. Optimism wants to be the perspective that gets to define what your life is like. It’s not going to sit back and let pessimism define what your life means while it passively reacts.
Positivity is not a defensive reaction to life’s challenges.
Positivity is a proactive mechanism for creating the life you were born to create.
There are no consolation prizes in life. You can either be a victim of circumstance or a champion of imagination.
You get to choose. Don’t play not to lose. Today you can decide to play on the winning side.
That’s my two cents.