Reflection on a Book Winners and Losers

Categories: Psychology

Born to Win

"Winners and Losers" Each human being is born as something new, something that never existed before. He is born with what he needs to win at life. Each person in his own way can see, hear, touch, taste, and think for himself. Each has his own unique potentials -- his capabilities and limitations. Each can be a significant, thinking, aware, and creatively productive person in his own right – a winner. The words "winner" and "loser" have many meanings.

When we refer to a person as a winner, we do not mean one who beats the other guy by winning over him and making him lose.

To us. a winner is one who responds authentically by being credible, trustworthy, responsive, and genuine, both as an individual and as a member of a society. A loser is one who fails to respond authentically. Martin Buber expresses this idea as he retells an old story of a rabbi who on his death bed sees himself as a loser.

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The rabbi laments that, in the world to come, he will not be asked why he wasn't Moses; he will be asked why he wasn't himself. Few people are one hundred percent winners or one hundred percent losers. It's a matter of degree.

However, once a person is on the road to being a winner, his chances are greater for becoming even more so. This book is intended to facilitate the journey. "Winners" Winners have different potentials. Achievement is not the most important thing.

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Authenticity is. The authentic person experiences the reality of himself by knowing himself, being himself, and becoming a credible, responsive person. He actualizes his own unprecedented uniqueness and appreciates the uniqueness of others. (The common pronoun "he" refers to persons of either sex except when "she" is definitely applicable. A winner is not afraid to do his own thinking and to use his own knowledge. He can separate facts from opinion and doesn't pretend to have all the answers. He listens to others, evaluates what they say, but comes to his own conclusions. While he can admire and respect other people, he is not totally defined, demolished, bound, or awed by them. A winner can be spontaneous. He does not have to respond in predetermined, rigid ways. He can change his plans when the situation calls for it. A winner has a zest for life. He enjoys work, play, food, other people, sex, and the world of nature.

Without guilt he enjoys his own accomplishments. Without envy he enjoys the accomplishments of others. Although a winner can freely enjoy himself, he can also postpone enjoyment. He can discipline himself in the present to enhance his enjoyment in the future. He is not afraid to go after what he wants but does so in appropriate ways. He does not get his security by controlling others. He does not set himself up to lose. A winner cares about the world and its peoples. He is not isolated from the general problems of society. He is concerned, compassionate, and committed to improving the quality of life.

Even in the face of national and international adversity, he does not see himself as totally powerless. He does what he can to make the world a better place. "Losers" Although people are born to win, they are also born helpless and totally dependent on their environment. Winners successfully make the transition from total helplessness to independence, and then to interdependence. Losers do not. Somewhere along the line they begin to avoid becoming self-responsible. As we have noted, few people are total winners or losers. Most of them are winners in some areas of their lives and losers in others.

Their winning or losing is influenced by what happens to them in childhood. A lack of response to dependency needs, poor nutrition, brutality, unhappy relationships, disease, continuing disappointments, inadequate physical care, and traumatic events arc among the many experiences that contribute to making people losers. Such experiences interrupt, deter, or prevent the normal progress toward autonomy and self-actualization. To cope with negative experiences a child learns to manipulate himself and others. These manipulative techniques are hard to give up later in life and often become set patterns.

A winner works to shed them. A loser hangs on to them. A loser represses his capacity to express spontaneously and appropriately his full range of possible behavior. He may be unaware of other options for his life if the path he chooses goes nowhere. He is afraid to try new things. He maintains his own status quo. He is a repeater. He repeats not only his own mistakes, he often repeats those of his family and culture. A loser has difficulty giving and receiving affection. He does not enter into intimate, honest, direct relationships with others.

Instead, he tries to manipulate them into living up to his expectations and channels his energies into living up to their expectations. When a person wants to discover and change his "losing streak," when he wants to become more like the winner he was born to be, he can use gestalt-type experiments and transactional analysis to make change happen. These are two new, exciting, psychological approaches to human problems. The first was given new life by Dr. Frederick Peris; the second was developed by Dr. Eric Berne. Peris was born in Germany in 1893 and left the country when Hitler came into power.

Berne was born in Montreal in 1910. Both men were trained as Freudian psychoanalysis; both broke away from the use of orthodox psychoanalysis; both found their greatest popularity and acceptance in the United States. Gestalt therapy is not new. However, its current popularity has grown very rapidly since it was given new impetus and direction by Dr. Frederick Peris. Gestalt is a German word for which there is no exact English equivalent; it means, roughly, the forming of an organized, meaningful whole. Peris perceives many personalities as lacking wholeness, as being fragmented.

He claims people are often aware of only parts of themselves rather than of the whole self. For example, a woman may not know or want to admit that sometimes she acts like her mother; a man may not know or admit that sometimes he wants to cry like a baby. The aim of gestalt therapy is to help one to become whole -- to help the person become aware of, admit to, reclaim, and integrate his fragmented parts. Integration helps a person make the transition from dependency to self-sufficiency; from authoritarian outer support to authentic inner support.

Updated: Feb 19, 2021
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Reflection on a Book Winners and Losers. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Reflection on a Book Winners and Losers essay
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