Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn – It’s About Attitude

sometimes-you-win-sometimes-you-learn-bookA few days ago I watched John Maxwell’s webcast introducing his latest book; Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn.  When John was asked what the main topic of this book was; he replied “attitudes.”  I totally agree.  Why? Because I believe winning, losing and learning are all connected to your attitude.

The main premise of John’s 74th book is that we don’t have to lose.  Rather, we can learn from our failures and mistakes.  John shares some of his greatest blunders and simply stated, he kept a positive attitude when it could have been just as easy to give in or give up.

I’ll admit that I used to be that way when things went wrong.  Blame it on the circumstances or possibly even on someone else just so I wouldn’t look bad.  I am over that mindset now.  Now I realize that failure is actually part of success.  When we understand this, we are able to maintain a positive attitude which allows us to remain focused on the original goal or objective we set out to achieve.

I want to discuss four ways that our “attitude” impacts our life.  These are not just opinions, these are thoughts based on my own failure and success.  I used to try and hide my failures and losses from others.  Now I wear them like battle scars and love to share with others, what I learned from the experience.


This could be your spouse, significant other, or even one of your kids.  If there is a problem in the relationship, I promise you that it has something to do with the attitude of one, or both of you.  My advice, remember this is based on experience, own your behavior and act in a way focuses on a solution.  A positive attitude can make all the difference in the world and may be your only hope to finding resolution.


I have watched it over and over, attitudes are contagious.  Much of the success we have in the business world relates in one way or another to teamwork.  When you are part of a team, you have a responsibility to your teammates to be an addition to the team.  This never happens with a negative attitude.  One single bad attitude can divide an entire team.  That being said, one positive attitude can be the catalyst to team success.


We all know that stress is bad for us, and on many different levels.  I am not breaking any ground here by telling you that your attitude will determine your stress level.  Notice that I didn’t say your stress will determine your attitude, even though it might, but here is the deal. When we have a positive attitude, we reduce stress.  A negative attitude creates stress.  Our attitude is our choice – something we have control over.  Stress is the result of our choosing to have a poor attitude or by allowing others to control our decisions.


Here is the important piece to all of this.  What if you never lost?  What if everything you did was a win or a learn?  How would that impact your attitude?  Look, I get it, sometimes there is so much stacked against and we feel so overwhelmed that it is nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude.  But this is what happens when we have that “positive attitude” mindset – we look at things differently and some of the things that used to get us down, now get us excited.  Excited to learn and apply that lesson to do or get better.  That is how we succeed.

So a challenge for you today.  Identify something in your life, right now, that has you frustrated or even angry.  Take a moment to reflect on what it is and what you can learn from going through this experience.  As John says in his new book; “Success lies not in eliminating our troubles and mistakes but in growing through and with them.”  

We all will experience difficulties in our life.  I believe our attitudes will make the difference between winning and losing.  So no more losing, only learning!


You can still see the encore presentation of the Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn webcast by clicking here.

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Barry Smith    10/12/13   photo courtesy of Amazon   © Building What Matters 2013

One Response to “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn – It’s About Attitude”

  1. LaRae Quy says:

    I agree, Barry…our attitude undermines success, failure, and everything in between. We get so caught up on “winning” and “success” that we miss the really important stuff in between – which is “what we learn from the process.” What is key, however, is that we take the time to learn from our failures and not just move on to another project where we think our chances of winning is better. Otherwise, the lesson never comes home.