Can Do Attitude

There are only two forms of thought when it comes to high achievement: loser or winner thinking. The difference is remarkable. Loser thinking can still result in success. It will just cost more for you, your mind, body and spirit to reach that result, but the biggest cost will be toward those around you, family, team, friends and global community.

In many recent books, thinking has been divided into flexible and fixed. And this is getting closer to the reality of truth between winner and loser thinking. Simply, the loser thinking is fixed, it sees the world and feedback as an assualt on the individual and takes things quite personally, while the flexible thinker has a fixed goal and sees everything that happens as sign posts to get them there.

Let’s look at an example: you’re at work and make an astonishing stuff up. Your boss, colleagues and client sees it and the feedback, both overtly spoken and covertly felt is overwhelming. You can’t get out of bed you’re so embarrassed and humiliated. You eventually go into work, the boss has stepped in to run your project and you’ve been given a back seat on the job as well as probably screwing up your chances of promotion. You’re emotional, you feel depressed, overwhelmed, angry at yourself. You go home and get a cuddle from your partner (acting as parent) and feel completely diminished. Someone makes a comment about what you screwed up and you fly off the handle at them. You’re stress levels are over the high bar, blood pressure way high and you feel sick. This is fixed mind.

Let’s run the same game story from a flexible mindset: you’re at work and make an astonishing stuff up. Your boss, colleagues and client sees it and the feedback, both overtly spoken and covertly felt is overwhelming. You sit down with a team and look back over the project so far. You are looking for what went right so far and don’t want to be anything but respectful of what went good. You’re also looking for areas of improvement that could have avoided the error. You find a few things, find the root cause of them, make changes in process, and repair the damage. You are both respectful of what went right and what could have been done better. You accept that there must have been a steep learning curve in some aspect of the job and set in place a system to flag steep learning curves in the future. You show the client, your boss and team what caused the error and how you’ve made sure, by changing process, that it won’t happen again.

What’s the background noise for version 1, that makes everything so personal and emotional? Version 1. has a fixed process, fixed outcome and fixed expectation. It’s the loser mindset because everything that breaks has only one source, YOU or someone you BLAME. Hence in this model you’ll beat yourself up if something or anything doesn’t go to plan. It’s a false path, an egocentric path, and a very stressful one.

The background noise for version 2. is different. For version two, you believe there’s always a way of improving the process. It’s not personal. If an error occurs it’s a good thing in that the error could have gone un-detected, it could have become huge, the error is there to teach you how to improve, get better, and really, 90% was perfect, 10% wasn’t. This is the mind of a champion. Yes, the winner is always self critical, looking, through the eyes of their coach, at how they could upgrade, do better, work smarter or achieve more result with less effort. It is not self-analysis, it is self-awareness with coaching.

The loser sees everything as an assault on their success. The winner sees everything as a guide to it. The loser sees one bad thing as a feeling of everything going bad, whereas the winner can compartmentalise what is going wrong to learn from it while still feeling positive about goal achievement.

The loser mindset often comes from a life changing disappointment that hasn’t been processed. For example: losing an important race that was yours for the taking or getting a marriage breakdown and feeling like you could have saved it. Simply, regret.

Regret that something that has happened could not have happened leads us to expect the worst. This defensive position becomes the default: “oh, bad shit is going to happen to me.” And so, when it does, which is does for everyone, that regretful person takes the bad shit as another reminder that the universe is against them.

Winner mindset is very spiritual. Don’t think that life, happy, successful life can progress through the ups and downs without this spiritual component of life in place. A person who visualises a punishing god, or a judging universe is always going to expect the worst, the loser mind.

With 35 years of meeting people who have gone to incredible extremes to change their life, I have come to appreciate how, for most, change is more a decorative process of claiming a connection to something that is a winning space. Like the boast that “I do yoga” or “I meditate” and in the midst of all that fog, the loser mindset thrives, “I’m a loser but if I attach to this stuff I won’t be.”

Incubation is no answer to life’s challenges. Hiding behind a spouse or a philosophy or a rule book just makes losers feel hidden and safe while their mind still takes a knife to their own heart everytime something reminds them of their vulnerability. We must become stronger than this and the way to do it is simple:

  1. A purpose greater than self
  2. A clear set of goals
  3. Willingness to do what it takes to achieve those goals (winner mindset starts here)
  4. An accurate metric that identifies our stress response.. (blood pressure, garmin stress watch, etc)

A winning mindset can relax… A loser one can’t. It’s not about attachment to a philosophy or practice, it’s about the way we think, not mindfulness, it’s about REAL SPIRIT, and the Universal Laws of Nature applied.


  • Focus on problem
  • Self Focus (how I feel)
  • Always needs someone something to blame
  • Focussed on process
  • Continually questions their goals
  • Takes failure personally
  • Beats themselves up for what might have been
  • Unclear priorities
  • Burns the boats
  • All or nothing
  • Afraid to dream. loves reality
  • Watching / worried about what other people think about them
  • Obsessed with possessing
  • Wants what they haven’t got
  • Loves pleasure
  • Wants it but not at high cost
  • Secure
  • Lives life through their partner’s opinions


  • Focus on problem and solution
  • Goal focus (how I get there)
  • Purpose in life greater than self
  • Looks for improvement in everything
  • Focussed on result
  • Do whatever it takes to achieve goals
  • Unafraid of failure
  • Builds themselves up for what might be
  • 100% committed to highest priority
  • Has a good home life
  • All or something
  • Dreams big, loves fantasy
  • Self-driven
  • Obsessed with loving
  • Builds on what they have got
  • Loves love
  • Wants it but will pay the cost
  • Insecure
  • Inspired, only one opinion matters.

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