Wining is overrated.
Sumner Redstone died yesterday. The media called him a “fighter”. He said himself, “I like to win.” He won over $4B for himself. All that fighting and winning: still dead.
Yesterday I crushed the hillclimb on my bike ride and “won” the leader board. I felt elated by the win! Coming in the door my 5 year old was sitting on the toilet waiting for someone to wipe her. So much for winning.
Last week, I “won” an argument with my wife on the merits, but the distance between us noticeably widened for awhile.
In my experience, tactical “wins” tend to become hollow when inconsistent with the meta environment. The first company I took public added over $500M to my balance sheet. A couple years later I was divorced, alone in a huge house.
I no longer fight to “win”. I fight to understand.
My wife was not “wrong”, I didn’t understand how she came to a different conclusion that I did. In a second conversation that focused on understanding rather than the “win”, we figured out the stories and values behind our positions and found a way to bridge to understanding. We still have different views on many things because we are different people, but we don’t fight to convince each other, we fight to understand each other.
Understanding is the win.