Back in 1999, I was intent on meeting Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  I was very impressed with his principles and wanted to learn more about his work in India.  So, I looked up the conferences that he was speaking at and signed up to attend Training 2000 in Atlanta.  While I did manage to meet Dr. Covey in the most interesting manner; he asked me to run with him to his car which was waiting for him a couple of blocks away to take him to the airport, I learned more on my flight to Atlanta from the wonderful lady who sat next to me.  I will refer to her as Nancy to protect her privacy.

Did you Win or Did youNancy was a mother whose sons had been diagnosed with ADHD.  After doing some research, she learned that playing chess was helpful for kids with ADHD.  According to her, it helped them focus and stay focused for a considerable length of time.  Her sons soon became very good at the game and were participating in chess championships.

During the first round of most championships, I recall her saying, “There is no room for parents to watch their children play, so they wait anxiously outside the closed doors.  Within the first 45 minutes or so, half the room is eliminated.”  What Nancy noticed as the doors opened and the children ran to their parents inspired her to come up with one of the most productive questions that I have heard in my life.  She said that most parents would ask their kids the question, many of them siblings, “Did you win or did you lose?”

She said, “The kid who won got a hug while the one who lost did not.”  What she witnessed bothered her a lot and she needed to come up with a way to acknowledge both.

Using her brilliance, she came up with the question, “Did you Win or Did you Learn?”

Have you ever been in a situation where you hear something and rings so true instantly?  This was one of those moments in my life and not only has the conversation remained fresh in my mind for almost 15 years, but also motivated me to share it to so many people over the years.  Whether they won or lost, love was never withheld.

For many of us, our predisposition to winning is so strong that we transfer it to our children even without realizing it, which leads to developing a strong aversion to loss at a young age.  As I had mentioned in a previous post a couple of weeks ago, that a healthy attitude towards failure is required to be courageous.  www.mindfulchoices.org/courage-vs-confidence-its-all-about-failure/

We need more people to muster the courage required to change the prevailing trend which does not seem to be helping us move to a better quality of life for most of our people.  In my humble opinion, adopting a healthy culture of learning which usually comes from making mistakes is vitally important for our growth as a nation.

As always, I am looking forward to your comments or questions.

Peace and be well,
Krishna