No. 931



In today’s culture there is a tremendous emphasis placed on winning, regardless of whether it’s in the boardroom, on the football field or betting at the racetrack. It has been my observation that this emphasis in recent years has been getting stronger primarily because of one word – money.
A good example is the evolving nature of high school sports. Regardless of the sport, the players are getting bigger, stronger and faster -- and even meaner in some cases. Again, the primary motivation for these athletes is money, first a college scholarship and then a chance to make it in professional sports. Plus, it’s not just the boys anymore.
As one who loved to play sports in high school but never was good enough to make the college team much less have a chance to play professionally, I believe we have lost a lot of what sports was originally meant to accomplish -- the thrill of competition and a love for the game. Be that as it may, I just want to say that a real winner is someone who plays by the rules and does not cheat. We have cheaters today who are tarnishing the image of sports for anyone who chooses to enter the arena. I want to say it again, and feel free to quote me: a winner does not cheat, either by not playing by the rules or by taking performance-enhancing drugs.
I am sure you know that being a real winner is not limited to athletic competition. A real winner is a person who has a winning attitude and strives to do his or her best, day in and day out, no matter the job or activity. As someone who has spent more than 40 years in a career of helping others succeed and use more of their God-given potential, it’s my observation that real winners are problem solvers. That is our challenge each and every day of our lives.
I recently came across an item from a reader that reinforces this important point. A story has been told that in ancient times a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove this huge rock. Now, is that not just like a king? Ha. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse laying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand -- every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
If you will think about it for a moment, I believe you will agree that there are many lessons for success in life that can be drawn from this simple story. One of the most obvious is from the action or inaction of the wealthy merchants and courtiers (a member of a sovereign’s court) that simply went around the boulder. The problem was still there. Real winners are problem solvers.
As Helen Keller once said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)