03/28/2014 11:30 EDT | Updated 05/28/2014 05:59 EDT

How To Win At Everything (Without Trying)

Sometimes life just doesn't go your way. Employers don't seem to want to hire you; you get sick at every turn; and your skillset is just not good enough for anything. We've all been there. The trick is to keep going until you win at every goal you've set for yourself. This basic line of thinking applies to everything in life: card games, sports, haggling and even rocket science.

As long as you don't impose limitations on yourself, you can win at anything and everything. What's even better is that once you prepare yourself to win all the time, you won't even have to try anymore - you'll win anyway. Don't think it's possible? Let me walk you through all the steps and you'll see for yourself.

Convince Yourself That You Deserve To Win

Everyone craves victory, but not everyone can get it. That's because many of us don't actually think we can win. For instance, if you've convinced yourself from the get-go that your chess opponent is cleverer than you, then you are guaranteed to lose. If you don't think your math skills are any good, then you've snubbed yourself out of numerous opportunities. If you want to succeed, then you have to reverse that defeatist way of thinking and convince yourself that you can do anything. You won't win right away, but you will be one step closer to that goal.

Analyze Your Opponent

If you want to win at things, you have to know exactly what you're facing. Whether you're squaring off against an opponent in chess, negotiating with a dealer for a new car or building a shuttle to go to Mars, you need to understand what makes that particular person or problem an obstacle to you.

If it's a sales person you're facing, figure out why you can't get a better deal. Is it because they intimidate you? Or is it because they seem smarter than you? If they intimidate you, then you need to understand why. Examine their body language and figure out what makes them tick. What are they good at? Is there something that intimidates them? If they know more about the product for instance, then get yourself acquainted with the subject to gain the upper hand. According to Adam D. Galinksky, professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, "the better you are to get inside the head of your opponent, the better your negotiated outcomes are likely to be."

This applies to everything you do in life. Figure out which of your weaknesses your opponent is using to beat you or why a particular problem seems unsolvable, and you will pave your way to victory.

Know All the Rules

Whether it's a game or a science project - everything has rules and best practices. If you don't know them, then you won't win.

Rules are there to tell you what you can or cannot do in a game, and they are not negotiable. You either learn them or you fail. Best practices on the other hand are tools you can use, which are learned through watching the way a game is played by others. For instance, if you want to win in poker, you need to understand how to bluff and manipulate your opponents. Watch successful players and pay close attention to their strategies. There's a reason why they win, and if you do the same, you can win too.

Just Relax

Sometimes knowing all of the above won't be enough. If you are prone to anxiety attacks or heavy stress, your path to victory may be hindered by performance anxiety.

To avoid it, try finding the most stressful thing about the game or activity you are performing and figure out why it's stressful. For instance, many introverts stress over talking to strangers due to the lack of confidence in their social skills. That's why it may be tough for an introvert to negotiate or speak in public. In this case, you need to start practicing your social skills until you feel confident enough to use them. This can actually benefit you in many aspects of life. Other fixes include limiting caffeine and sugar intake, meditating regularly and doing physical activities.

Learn How To Lose

Say you've followed all of the above steps to a T, but you still can't win. This may sound contradictory to everything I've said so far, but sometimes you lose no matter what. When you do, never beat yourself up for it. Instead, just try turning your loss into a victory. Find something to learn from the experience and think of possible ways you can use that knowledge in the future. That way, you win without winning.

People succeed not because they are talented or super intelligent, but because they don't let their failures and weaknesses stop them from getting what they want. If you want to win at everything, then you need to adopt this attitude.


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