A winner is a loser who has evaluated himself
In 1993 a team of researchers studied the golden generation of Swedish tennis players, including Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Joakim Nyström, Peter Lundgren and Anders Järryd, who all followed on the heels of the legend Björn Borg. Three of them ranked as number one in the world within a few years and together they harvested nine grand slam titles.
Interestingly, the study showed that none of them had been among the absolute best youth players in Sweden. They may have been part of the elite, but they were not the very best. It suggested that because they were never quite the best in their youth, always trying to catch up with those above them, they were more motivated to improve their game.
I am a strong believer in this theory. It occurs to me that people will last longer if they have not had too much success too early in their careers. I have seen lots of examples of how lots of early success and celebration can cause major motivation problems.
It seems paradoxical, but perhaps failure is the key to success. There seems to be something about having faced adversity early that helps to propel some people to greater success, and which continues to fuel their desire to improve themselves in spite of their achievement along the way. The hardiest plants survive harsh environments.
To me, the real definition of a winner is ‘a loser who has evaluated himself.’