6 Things In Life You Think You Can Win, But You Actually Can’t

5. Money:

Why you can’t win:

This may be the most pressing problem of our era, as it contributes to so many other significant problems. A recent Oxfam report asserts that 85 people on the planet hold as much wealth as half of the Earth’s population. That is a staggering statistic and should be all the evidence that you need that you’ll never win the money game, even if you’re a member of the much-maligned one percent.

But even down here in the trenches where most of us live, chasing money is a losing proposition. Going into debt to keep up with the Joneses has never made anybody happy.

How you can win:

How much do you need? The answer is different for everyone, but be honest with yourself. Figure it out, target it, and be happy when you get there.


6. A Super Bowl/Oscar/Olympic Gold Medal:

Why you can’t win:

Look, you might. Those rags to riches stories are what keep us coming back. I love underdog stories, I really do, but the overwhelming majority of us will never win Olympic gold. It’s simple math.

And it’s a little bit of genetics, too. No matter how hard I train, I’ll never be an elite athlete. If my focus is solely on the gold, I’m setting myself up for bitterness and disappointment.

How you can win:

Do you enjoy running, cycling, acting, whatever? Go do it. Enjoy it for the sake of enjoying it. Enter a 5k. Compete against your time from your last 5k. Get involved in a local theater company. Follow your passions because they’re your passions. That’s the real reward.


Life is not a competition. When you work, find satisfaction in what you’re doing. When you play, enjoy the game. Stretch yourself but set realistic, meaningful goals. Stop comparing yourself to others, and you can win most everything. Except driving. Seriously, get off my bumper.


Written by James Stafford
Originally appeared in The Good Men Project

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