“No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality.” – Napoleon Hill
Defeat is a foul word that brings an unpleasant snarl to my face. Why? Because it means not winning. Not winning means losing. Losing is a word I despise as much as average and mediocre. If I could, I would rip that ghastly term right out of every dictionary, along with all its cousins, in every language, and burn them reminiscent of a scene from Ray Bradbury’s classic, Fahrenheit 451. If that image isn’t clear enough, then think of someone running fingernails down on old fashioned chalkboard with its annoying screeching sound. Saying words like defeat or losing (actually, even typing them out) makes my skin crawl. Is the picture clearer to you now?
Defeat is a word that, once accepted into our vocabulary, finds a way to linger in our minds for that right moment – that moment where we sense it’s our time for a breakthrough. Finally, we are on the verge of success. Victory is within our fingertips. A thought flashes into our minds for a split second, long enough to catch our attention, but not long enough to engage it. The thought is unmistakable and crystal clear. We even recognize it. We’ve seen this thought more than once before. Its message evokes an emotion we’ve felt before. This emotion shows up to our mind’s door like some typecast movie character who arrives unwanted at just the right time. The emotion showing up in this moment is doubt.
Doubt, disguised as reason, reminds us of the last time we were on the verge of that big promotion, a championship trophy, or other form of success. We were defeated. Doubt convinced us of our unworthiness, our inability to finish the deal, and we sabotaged ourselves. Somehow, victory slipped from our hands. The promotion went to someone not as qualified as us. The championship was fumbled away at the goal line because for one split second we invited doubt into our minds to disrupt everything. Once his work was complete, doubt left satisfied over a job well done. We were left with the not so pleasant thought of: “Why does this always happen to me?”
The reality of defeat is inevitable when you allow it and his family (doubt) anywhere within your mind and accept the possibility of losing, sabotaging yourself, or fumbling away the game winning score. Here are two questions I learned from one of my mentors, Paul Martinelli. When doubt sneaks unannounced into your mind and troubles you with those thought flashes and reminders of past failures, ask yourself:
- Is this true? Acknowledge the truth of the statement. If it’s true, so what? Agree with it. Grab hold of it. If it’s not true, then dismiss the thought.
- Is this thought serving me? Does this thought add value to me? Does following this train of thought lead me to results and desired objectives I have set for myself? If the thought is not serving you, then quit giving it energy. Dismiss it. Otherwise, you invite defeat into the home of your mind, and believe me, defeat will stay if you allow him to stay.