From the Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong, where the seven-time Tour de France winner admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an advantage during his cycling career…
Oprah: How important was winning to you? Would you do anything to win at all costs?
Armstrong: Basically, basically. Winning was important.
Oprah: What was for you the flaw or flaws that made you willing to risk it all?
Armstrong: I think this just ruthless desire to win. Win at all costs, truly. Serves me well on the bike, served me well during the disease, but the level that it went to, for whatever reason, is a flaw. Then that defiance, that attitude, that arrogance, you cannot deny it.
For starters let me just say that I’m not writing this to chastise Lance Armstrong. He’s a human being. He did stuff that was wrong. So have I. So has everyone else in the world. Judgment-free zone here…not my job.
The reason for writing this is what he said in that second quote above: Win at all costs. That stood out to me.
You can substitute the word ‘me’ for ‘win’ in that sentence and I think that’s one of the biggest issues facing us as humans. Win at all costs is essentially the same as saying me at all costs, and therein lies a real problem. As people, we tend to excel at having the ‘me’ mentality.
Winning is great, don’t get me wrong. Doing our best and working hard to achieve goals are both good things. But the ‘at all costs’ part is where the line begins to blur. As people we need to be able to see beyond this mentality and realize that our end goal cannot be one where we must get whatever we want with no regard for anything or anyone else.
The decisions we make have consequences and often times, people get hurt when the win at all costs mentality is used. Remember, life is a team sport.
Let’s take the outcome in this situation as a reminder to look beyond ourselves. A reminder that striving for the best in life is fine, but only if it means achieving it in ways that truly are for the best.
Have a good day.