Rev. Fr. C. Joseph-Counsellor
St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama
Each human being is born as something new, something that never existed before. Each is born with the capacity to win at life. Each person has a unique way of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and thinking. Each has his or her own unique potentials-capabilities and limitations. Each can be a significant, thinking, aware, and creative being-a productive person, a winner. The word “winner” has many meanings. When we refer to a person as a winner, we do not mean one who makes someone else lose. To us, a winner is one who responds authentically by being credible, trustworthy, responsive, and genuine, both as an individual and as a member of a society. A loser is one who fails to respond authentically. Martin Buber makes this distinction as he retells the old story of the rabbi who, on his deathbed, is asked if he is ready for the world to come. The rabbi says yes. After all, he will not be asked, “Why were you not yourself?”
Few people are one hundred percent winners or one hundred percent losers. It’s a matter of degree. However, once a person is on the road to being a winner, his or her chances are greater for becoming even more so. Winners have different potentials. Achievement is not the most important thing. Authenticity is. The authentic person experiences self-reality by knowing, being, and becoming a credible, responsive person. Authentic people actualize their own unprecedented uniqueness and appreciate the uniqueness of others.
Authentic persons-winners-do not dedicate their lives to a concept of what they imagine they should be; rather, they are themselves and as such do not use their energy putting on a performance, maintaining pretence, and manipulating others. Winners can reveal themselves instead of projecting images that please, provoke, or entice others. They are aware that there is a difference between being loving and acting loving, between being stupid and acting stupid, between being knowledgeable and acting knowledgeable. Winners do not need to hide behind a mask. They throw off unrealistic self-images of inferiority or superiority. Autonomy does not frighten winners.
All people have moments of autonomy, if only fleeting. However, winners are able to sustain their autonomy over ever-increasing periods of time. Winners may lose ground occasionally and may even fail. Yet, in spite of setbacks winners maintain a basic self-confidence.
Winners are not afraid to do their own thinking and to use their own knowledge. They can separate facts from opinion and don’t pretend to have all the answers. They listen to others; evaluate what they say, but come to their own conclusion. Although winners can admire and respect other people, they are not totally defined, demolished, bound, or awed by them.
Winners do not play “helpless,” nor do they play the blaming game. Instead, they assume responsibility for their own lives. They do not give others a false authority over them. Winners are their own bosses and know it.
A winner’s timing is right. Winners respond appropriately to the situation. Their responses are related to the message sent and preserve the significance, worth, well-being, and dignity of the people involved. Winners know that for everything there is a season and for every activity a time.
A time to be aggressive and a time to be passive,
A time to be together and a time to be alone,
A time to fight and a time to love,
A time to work and a time to play,
A time to cry and a time to laugh,
A time to confront and a time to withdraw
A time to speak and a time to be silent,
A time to hurry and a time to wait.
To winners, time is precious. Winners don’t kill it, but live it here and now. Living in the now does not mean that winners foolishly ignore their own past history or fail to prepare for the future. Rather, winners know their past, are aware and alive in the present, and look forward to the future.
Winners learn to know their feelings and limitations and to be unafraid of them. Winners are not stopped by their own contradictions and ambivalences. Being authentic, they know when they are angry and can listen when others are angry with them. Winners can give and receive affection. Winners are able to love and be loved.
Winners can be spontaneous. They do not have to respond in predetermined, rigid ways, but can change their plans when the situation calls for it. Winners have a zest for life, enjoying work, play, food and the world of nature. Without guilt they enjoy their own accomplishments. Without envy they enjoy the accomplishments of others.
Although winners can freely enjoy themselves, they can also postpone enjoyment; can discipline themselves in the present to enhance their enjoyment in the future. Winners are not afraid to go after what they want, but they do so in appropriate ways. Winners do not get their security by controlling others. They do not set themselves up to lose.
A winner cares about the world and its peoples. A winner is not isolated from the general problems of society, but is concerned, compassionate, and committed to improving the quality of life. Even in the face of national and international adversity, a winner’s self-image is not one of a powerless individual. A winner works to make the world a better place. Be a winner in 2018.