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The pursuit of winning for one’s self, should, like smoking, come with a government health warning:

‘Pursuing winning for one’s self can seriously damage your health' The pursuit of winning for one’s self significantly increases our likelihood that we become selfish as we seek to protect, boost our self-esteem and avoid fear through winning, although we may or may not be aware of doing this. Without much thought we hunt for any little piece of evidence that tells us we are good enough, while, at the same time, we eagerly and proactively seek the approval from others that winning brings. We make instant judgements (generalisations or stereotypes) about someone based on their ability to win or lose. We have unconsciously learnt to see that winning is our only real option and this is grooved within our psyche at millisecond speed.

Below the surface, however, winning can be seen as a route for survival. Winning for one’s self fires our natural defence system – our ego (our self interest in survival). Our ego is our radar system monitoring any potential intruder entering our air space. If something, or someone, does enter, then our ego takes over, and Control Centre flicks the switch between fight or flight – we are constantly switched on. I have found, over the many years of working with people, that emotional turmoil is formed when we think we are either ‘not good enough’ at something we do or that we are ‘rejected by others’. These represent our deepest fears. We do everything in our power to ignore them. As a result, our ego (self-importance) is about protecting us from these two deep fears. Just as our primal instincts tell us to fight or escape, we need to fight or escape feelings of not being good enough or being rejected by others. Our ego processes this at millisecond speed but such decision-making hinders our ability to be happy and express ourselves freely.

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