How to Think like a Winner

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Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't — you're right."

Success in any area ranging from elite athletics to business is largely based on one thing: Your mental game. This article shares how you can start thinking and acting like a champion so you can see more success in your life.

Champions Have Positive Expectations

Winners focus on what will go well. They maintain positive expectations and anticipate winning.

While many humans may have a tendency to worry and focus on what is not going well, champions maintain a positive mindset and expect the best for themselves. 

Next time you have a big task you are up against, experiment by holding the expectation that you will succeed. Resist the urge to anticipate what you will do in the case that you fail and only maintain the option of winning.

Champions Visualize Winning

Visualization is a powerful tool used in peak performance coaching and by many sports psychologists with their athletes. Visualization helps champions cement their positive expectations in their minds and turn them into realities. 

You can utilize this technique by spending some quiet time with yourself and holding an image in your mind's eye of achieving your goal. Make the image crystal clear, bring it to life using all of your senses, and you will be that much closer to success.

Champions Know How to Calm Their Nerves

Even the elite need to learn how to calm their nerves.

The adrenaline that rushes through people before big events can easily trigger a stress reaction that is enough to derail even the most talented if it is not properly managed. Champions are able to not only calm their nerves but channel that anxiety and adrenaline into excitement.

Many successful people have a meditation practice that helps them keep their nerves in check and keeps their minds sharp.

Some listen to music to help get them mentally prepared and into their zones of peak performance. Deep breathing and simple relaxation practices are also widely utilized.

A simple practice of mindfulness meditation can do wonders in helping you calm your nerves when you are up against a big task or performance. You can start practicing mindfulness by cultivating a greater awareness of your own cognitive and emotional states. When feeling anxious or overwhelmed, the trick is to practice a sort of detachment from your own mental and emotional processes. Being open, curious and accepting of your experiences can help prevent you from being engulfed by overwhelming or anxiety.

Champions Are Grateful

By maintaining an attitude of gratitude, winners keep their focus on what is going well, appreciate it, and see more of what is going well in their lives. Champions are not complainers, rather, they find the opportunities for growth in what may not be going well. They appreciate all of their experiences, even what may not be going well.

Research shows that a simple practice of consciously being more grateful can increase one's happiness. Implementing a practice of gratitude can not only help improve your mood but can also help you be more of a champion yourself.

Champions Celebrate the Small Wins

Not every day may be a championship, but winners pay attention to the smaller wins in addition to the larger victories. By celebrating the smaller wins, champions are able to maintain their positive mindset and continue working toward their bigger accomplishments.

Celebrating the small wins may seem trivial, but can help you gain the momentum that you need to reach your larger goals. Pay attention to everything that goes well, and do not be afraid to celebrate what might feel like even the smallest of accomplishments.

Be a Champion

Implement the above attitudes and actions of champions, and you will likely see more success in your life as you progress toward your goals.


Emmons, R.A. & McCullough, M E. (2003) Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377–89.