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Play to Learn Mindset

All of us are familiar with the motivational mantra, “Playing to Win.” Embracing this philosophy in our lives and careers is something I wholeheartedly endorse. However, a critical question arises: What do we do when winning eludes us? How do we maintain our drive and enthusiasm? It seems to me there’s immense value in adopting a “Play to Learn” mindset.

Goals centered around “Playing to Win” often focus on success, victory, or mastery. It’s crucial to gauge our ability to achieve these goals, but equally important is finding ways to stay motivated when we fall short. There are times when, despite meticulous planning and stellar performance, success remains just out of reach.

If our goals hinge solely on outcomes, our initial motivation might skyrocket; however, as we start achieving these goals, the allure of further achievements at the same level diminishes, leading to a decrease in motivation.

Naturally, we all seek positive outcomes, but the real challenge lies in sustaining motivation when our expectations aren’t met. This is where the concept of “Playing to Learn” becomes pivotal!

Goals rooted in “Playing to Learn” focus on your performance, independent of the results. You assess these goals by asking: Have I surpassed my previous best? Since this approach involves comparing your current performance against past ones and noting improvements, such goals are entirely within your control. Thus, even if an outcome goal is not met, you can still find motivation in achieving a “Play to Learn” goal in the same domain.

It’s beneficial to set goals over which you have substantial control. Experiencing failure in achieving a personal goal due to factors beyond your control can be disheartening. By basing your goals on personal performance, you retain control over their achievement and derive satisfaction from them.

When our goals are within our control, our mindset and motivation remain independent of external influences. We’ve all faced situations where external factors like challenging business environments, unfair judgment, inclement weather, injuries, or sheer bad luck prevented us from achieving an outcome-based goal. Goals that rely solely on outcomes are vulnerable to failure due to circumstances beyond our control.

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