“YOU DON’T HAVE TO WIN EVERY TIME”
Ultra-competitive people, who always need to win, end up enjoying things less. If they lose they are very disappointed, and they win it’s what they expected would happen anyway.
Richard Nixon was running for reelection as president in 1972. He directed his campaign staff to take all available measures to win as many votes as possible. Most famous, of course were the break-ins they staged at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building in order to plant bugging devices. But staff workers also engaged in an endless series of what Nixon himself labeled “dirty tricks.” They would call up pizza parlors and order a hundred pizzas to be delivered to the office of an opposition candidate. They would hand out phony fliers telling people that an opponent’s rally had been canceled. They would call meeting halls and cancel reservations opponents had made for events. Why did they do these things? Nixon was obsessed with winning — at all costs.
The great irony was that Nixon was winning anyway and didn’t need any of these tricks. But his inability to deal with the possibility of losing caused him to pursue these extreme methods and ultimately cost him the prize that he had so desperately pursued.
Competitiveness can preclude life satisfaction because no accomplishment can prove sufficient, and failures are particularly devastating. Ultra competitive people rate their successes with lower marks than some people rate their failures (Thurman 1981)
****100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven