Are You Winning Too Much?

Rod Pickett
2 min readFeb 12, 2024

Winning is the enemy of success.
Rod Pickett

I recently started learning to play pickleball.

One of the reasons this game is so popular is that it is easy for beginners to pick up.

Amateur players are rated from 2.0 to 5.5 (novice to elite).

Recreational games match players with roughly the same rating.

I’ve learned that winning games is the biggest obstacle to improving my skill level.

When I am focused on winning, I use the skills and strategies that I am most comfortable with.

At the lower levels, that gives me a better chance of winning.

But it keeps me from developing the skills I need to move up to the next level.

For example: my forehand is stronger and more accurate than my backhand.

If I am focused on winning the current game, I will try to avoid using my backhand.

If I am focused on improving, I try to use my backhand when appropriate even if it increases my chances of making a bad shot.

Pickleball is not the only place this happens.

Corporations tend to focus on winning the next business cycle while jeopardizing long-term success.

Consumers often sacrifice their financial future by running up credit card debt.

Smart students sometimes avoid challenging courses because they are more concerned with protecting their reputation than with getting even smarter.

There is always a bigger game than the one we are playing.

The coach of a 5th-grade basketball team could win early-season games by telling the team, “Get the ball to the tall girl and let her shoot.”

But the team that worked on developing skills, even while losing at the beginning, will shock everyone by beating the tall girl’s team in the championship game.

Growth requires getting out of our comfort zone.

It often makes us feel stupid and clumsy.

And sometimes it means losing the current game.

But growth equips us to win the bigger game.

“Win at all costs” is a loser mindset.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.

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Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, certified personal trainer, consultant, woodworker, and life-long learner.