The Winner’s Triple Crown

There’s a reason why Participation medals don’t work. They don’t inspire or celebrate excellence. In fact, they devalue it.

In a sport where everyone gets a participation medal for just showing up, you won’t see a lot of excellent plays. What you will see is a lot of apathy, folks going through the motions.

When you get a medal for just standing there, where is the incentive to stand out?

Human beings are motivated by excellence. Participation medals mean the great athletes are demotivated because they don’t have to give their best in order to play. Great athletes value the win when they had to leave it all on the field. Where is the honor in playing a game where everyone is dishonoring the spirit of the game?

The poor athletes are demotivated because it reinforces their self-image, which is demotivated to begin with. The lazy athletes are demotivated too, because they are rewarded and encouraged to get even lazier.

And the children who learn from this approach are being taught that being excellent isn’t applicable to them as a human being. More damaging that that, they never learn the profound satisfaction of leaving it all on the field.

Participation medals are the consolation prize for devaluing excellence.

How about calling it a Personal Best medal instead? And it was awarded by asking the participant if they believe they put in their best effort?

However, there is an approach to life where everyone’s a winner. It’s a very different approach to a life than where there are no losers.

Think of it as Win, Win, WIN.

When you interact with another person, be it fleeting or long-term, you enter into a relationship pact with them. In any interaction the altitude of the thoughts with which you approach this relationship determines your attitude about it as well as your results. It also determines what you learn from that relationship.

Life is a team pursuit…

Like with a relay race, when you approach that relationship with a team WIN in mind, you’ve already won. This is where thoughtful preparation becomes apparent, because you have taken the time to consider the panoramic view. You’ve jumped ahead and seen the rewards, and you value those rewards more than an individual win.

Because you’ve glimpsed the panoramic view (the team WIN), an individual win is too small for you. A true WIN includes learning, understanding and gain…for all involved.

How is this possible?

Creativity is being open to possibilities. It is seeing the possibilities in the connection between two seemingly unrelated items.

Think of it like the concentric circles that compose the ripple effect. The ripples flow according to the nature of water, and they are connected. The ripple effect is expressed by high points on the water that compose the visual we see in the form of concentric circles, but without their connection there would be no flowing ripples.

Each One, Reach One…

The Winner’s Triple Crown works like this:

I win.

You win.

Humanity wins.

This is a paradigm shift – the definition of winning must change in order to claim the Winner’s Triple Crown.

Winning must equal learning, understanding, empathy AND gain.

You win sometimes. You lose sometimes. But when you learn each time, you win. Every time.

In this way you are as elegant in the loss as you are in the win.

One candle lighting another candle does not take away from the first. It makes the whole room brighter.

When you focus on the other person – helping them win – you win.

There’s always room for one more.

The human win is the panoramic win. When you are a winner and your teammates are also winners, the whole team wins, because we are elevated by excellence.

This is the space where competition shifts from adversarial to elevational. Nobody has to lose for you to win.

Remember the line from the movie Highlander? There can be only one.

Seems pretty damn lonely to me.

The paradigm shift embraces this revision…There can be only one…more.

Win, Win, WIN…

This, friend, is what I mean…


Published by Paula D. Tozer

I am a writer, poet and singer/songwriter. I am a Toastmaster, motivational speaker, personal creativity coach, and workshop leader. My most sincere wish is to share my words with others, and that we both benefit from the exchange.

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