When The High Price of Winning is That Everyone Loses

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Two hours.

dreamstime_xs_20611827That is precisely how long it took, after the announcement that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had unexpectedly passed away in his sleep, for the Republican Party to announce that they would not approve ANY nominee that President Obama submitted to the Senate to replace him.

Not only that, but they will not give any consideration to anyone nominated by President Obama. No. Matter. What.

We are mired in a national epidemic of finger-pointing, a gross
shortage of accountability, and a perverse delight in making
others wrong.

Even if it means we contaminate ourselves in the process.

Period. End of conversation.

We win. They lose.

As so many were, I was stunned that the Republicans were so immediate and definitive in stating their position; their agenda wasn’t camouflaged nor was their political speak softened. They drew a line— of the big, bold, everyone loses variety.

(Not incidentally, mine is a cultural commentary, not a political one.)

The Republicans (in this instance) are more invested in being right (and making the Democrats wrong) than they are in being in service to our country; being in service to you and I.

The Republicans are positive that the American people should wait for the next president to vote for the next appointee. The Democrats are positive that Americans did vote in the last election when they elected Barack Obama.

Neither side is budging, both fixed in their position.

It is common for everyone to lose, when one group ‘wins.’

Admittedly, some of these politicians truly think that they are being in service to the American people. But consider this:

When does a Fixed Mindset get anyone to a worthwhile destination, and what exactly do we win when we get there?

A Fixed Mindset means we are committed
to what we want, not to what we need.

Answer: Nothing. Bupkis. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

Neither you nor I should laugh, snicker or judge as we have done this very same thing throughout our personal and professional lives and we will, in unconscious moments, continue to do so.

Consider this: Stubbornly, irrationally and un-apologetically digging in and attaching ourselves to ideas based solely on proving our position eclipses any hopes for transformation.

Or happiness.



There have been many times when we have so wanted to ‘win’ that we’ve been unable to move in any direction other than the one that’s identical to the one behind us.

We dig in to our Fixed Mindset because we need to be right or,
at the very least, we don’t want to be wrong.

We want to look like we’re smart. We want to look good
(whatever that means to us). We want to avoid looking bad.

Don’t take my word for it— try this on by filling in your own blanks:

I am more invested in being right about ________________ (and making _____________ wrong) than I am in ______________________.

If you’re a manager in a corporation, a Fixed Mindset can sound eerily similar to the present day politics.

  • We’ve always done it that way.
  • We never hire outside the company for that.
  • That’s not the way things work around here.

If you’re an employee, a Fixed Mindset might sounds like this:

  • They’ll never consider me for that promotion.
  • They don’t listen to me.
  • I could never take on that project.

When we have a Fixed Mindset we avoid pain.
When we have a Growth Mindset we seeking pleasure.

Now let’s look at the above situations through the lens of a Growth Mindset.


  • Just because we’ve always done it that way, doesn’t mean we have to do it that way now. Let’s look at some options.
  • If we can’t find the right person internally for the job, let’s see if we can get a great referral from our team.
  • We’ve not done this that way before, but let’s try it!


  • I want to discover exactly what qualifications they’ll be looking for when they fill the position- I can always take class or get a certification if that will put me in the running.
  • I often feel unheard in those meetings. I’m going to do a 360 with my team and see if I can figure out why and what I need to do to be heard and respected.
  • That project scares me because I haven’t ever managed anything on that scale before. I’m going to some investigation and see if I have what it takes to get it done well.

The difference between the two mindsets is obvious when you read it, isn’t it? But when we’re in the situation we often resort to what we know, even if it doesn’t get us where we say we want to go.


When we have a fixed mindset, nobody wins.

Nobody gets the benefit of experiencing our know-how, intelligence, innovative mind, creative solutions or any other contribution that would make a valuable difference.

Even worse, when we have a fixed mindset we experience ourselves as diminished because we don’t get to make a difference; we don’t have impact.

Your company loses. You lose. Your customers lose. Nobody wins.


We want to hear from you! How do you switch from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset? What do you do? When have you stayed stuck and regretted it? When have you transformed your thinking and had a big ‘win’ for everyone?

Leave your comments below and, of course, we always appreciate a good share.

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