Born To Win

by Zig Ziglar

What’s in it for me?

Master and apply the winning strategy!

“Everyone’s a winner.” Maybe you’ve heard this phrase before, or different versions of it. But as encouraging as the words sound, they don’t exactly explain how to bring out the winner in you.

Here, you’ll discover the secret. You’ll learn the simple strategy that breaks it all down and explains that winning, in whatever you choose to do, comes down to just three things: planning to win, preparing to win, and then expecting to win.

Follow these steps and you’ll find they lead you to the success you were born to experience.

You’ll learn
  • what makes a winner;
  • how to choose a mentor; and
  • what you can learn from bowling.

Winning starts with a vision and the desire to make it happen.

Have you ever watched an athletics championship race? Or the final game in a big sports competition, like the Super Bowl or soccer World Cup? In all these events, winners emerge and bask in the glory of their success.

But here’s a question: How do these winners arrive at that moment? Most likely, they showed potential earlier in life, but that’s not all it takes.

As far as the authors are concerned, everyone has potential. What separates those with potential from those who become winners is desire. Before an athlete crosses that finish line or a winning football team lifts the trophy, they first have to want to win. This drives them to plan, prepare, and ultimately, expect victory.

The key message here is: Winning starts with a vision and the desire to make it happen.

Desire is what motivates people to do the hard work that leads to winning. Think of it as a motor powering you toward success. And the motor first starts running when you establish a clear vision for yourself and your future. Often, this vision is the result of an event or an encounter.

For example, Zig Ziglar’s vision for success was inspired by a conversation with a supervisor that he admired. He was working as a salesman and his supervisor told him that he could become the best salesman in the country. Before this conversation, he’d never imagined doing anything beyond making ends meet. But when he was introduced to the possibility of greatness, he became excited about the vision. And his desire to make it a reality was born.

Once you have desire, it sparks two qualities that keep you working toward your vision: commitment and perseverance.

Commitment keeps you focused and consistent in chasing down your vision – you’ll do everything you need in order to succeed. And perseverance is what keeps you going even when the road gets rough, which it inevitably will. Think about it, when you experience setbacks or challenges, you have to be able to press on. Otherwise, your vision will never materialize.

To set off on the path to success, look for moments that inspire vision and spark your desires. Knowing exactly what you want provides the motivation you need to plan, prepare, and expect to win. Here we’ll look at how to do just that.

Setting goals points you in the winning direction.

Imagine you’re driving down a road when you arrive at a traffic circle with several exits. How do you know which exit to take?

It depends on where you’re headed, right? Having a destination in mind makes it easy to choose the roads you need to travel. Without one, you’d end up driving around aimlessly, never knowing which exits or turns to tak

When you’re planning to win, having a goal is similar to having a destination. It gives you direction and stops you wasting your time and effort.

The key message here is: Setting goals points you in the winning direction.

In order to win, you need to set the right goals. And you can do this with a simple process.

First, make sure that your goal is specific – you need a clear idea of what you’re aiming for. Instead of making more money, for example, your goal could be to increase your earnings by 30 percent. Once you’ve defined the goal, write down what you’ll gain by reaching it. Understanding what’s in it for you helps you stay motivated.

Second, identify any obstacles that you might come across while pursuing your goal. If you know what to expect, you can prepare for it. And speaking of preparation, the third step is to think about the knowledge and skills you’ll need to reach your goal. This will help you pinpoint what you need to learn, as well as who can support and advise you on the way. Finally, complete the process by creating a detailed plan of action and giving yourself a deadline.

Of course, setting goals is important, but it’s not enough to win. You need to follow through with action. And value and purpose help you do this – they’re the big “why” behind your vision.

Consider this scenario: three men performing the same task are asked what they’re doing. The first says he’s cutting stone, the second says he’s earning a paycheck, but the third man sees a higher purpose in the work and says he’s building a cathedral. Of the three, who would you say has the best attitude?

Finding value and purpose in what you do energizes you. So, ask yourself: Why do you want to achieve your goals? And how will they improve your life and the lives of others? By answering these questions, you’ll uncover the value and purpose that will keep you working enthusiastically.

Prepare to win by learning and seeking advice from the right people.

Here’s another question: Would you go camping without a tent or sleeping bag? Or deliver an important speech without practicing first?

If you answered yes, well your camping trip probably won’t be much fun! And as for the speech – there goes any chance of impressing your audience! This is because both scenarios lack an ingredient that’s essential for success: preparation.

From wowing a crowd with your words to having a memorable camping experience, anything you want to do requires preparation. You must equip yourself with the right information, tools, and support system. Only then do you have a shot at success.

he key message here is: Prepare to win by learning and seeking advice from the right people.

Ever heard the saying “Knowledge is power”?

Well, it’s also true when it comes to winning. Having the right knowledge helps you identify opportunities and find ways to overcome challenges. As part of your preparation on the path to winning, establish a habit of learning and building on your knowledge. You can do this by regularly setting time aside to learn something relevant to your vision and goals. Take a leaf out of the Zig Ziglar book – he read for three hours each day.

And while you’re learning, make sure to practice applying your knowledge and skills. This gives you a chance to master new information and increase your confidence. Need proof? Just think of what happens when a child learns to ride a bike. At first, she’s nervous about falling and unsteady as she rides. But with enough practice, her confidence grows and she can soon hop on the bike without any hesitation.

On top of gaining knowledge and the confidence to apply it, there’s one more step that’ll prepare you to win. And it involves finding mentors.

At some point, everyone needs support, and seeking advice from people who are wiser and have achieved success themselves improves your chances of winning. To choose the right mentors, look for signs of good character, like being trustworthy and selfless.

One way you can be sure of someone’s character is if they have happy and healthy personal relationships. Mentors should be good listeners and always tell the truth – even when you don’t want to hear it. And, it helps if they have the knack for making the right decisions. Lastly, choose mentors who enjoy seeing other people succeed.

When you nurture every aspect of yourself, you can expect success.
Take a moment and consider what distinguishes winners from losers.

You probably think that talent and hard work play a part, and you’re not wrong, but they don’t make the biggest difference. The main thing that separates winners from losers is expectation. Winners expect to win. And not just because they plan and prepare to realize their visions.

To expect to win, you also have to commit to improving your spirit, mind, and body. These distinct aspects work together to make up your whole self. And if you neglect any one of them, you limit your ability to succeed.

The key message here is: When you nurture every aspect of yourself, you can expect success.

The most important part of who you are is your spirituality. It’s what separates people from all other forms of life on earth. Animals, for instance, are driven by the need to survive and reproduce but, as a person, you’re motivated by spiritual ideas like faith and love. This makes nurturing your spirit essential to your success, and to living a better life overall.

Zig Ziglar learned this through his own experience. Until he turned his life over to Jesus Christ, he struggled financially, and any success that came his way was short-lived.

Alongside your spirit, you must also nurture your mind. The best way to do this is by learning to think in different ways, which is a two-step process. First, as you learned in the previous blink, make sure you’re always absorbing new information: through observation, reading, or listening to knowledgeable people. Next, use that information to tackle your goals and solve problems. It helps to do this by setting aside dedicated time for thinking and using it to creatively apply anything you’ve recently learned.

Caring for your spirit and mind is important, but remember that both are housed in your body, so that needs to be in good shape, too. When you’re physically healthy, you perform at your best and increase your chances of success. Nurture your body with a nutritious diet and regular exercise. You can even use the goal-setting process to guide you to a better lifestyle and improved fitness.

In the long run, paying attention to your spiritual, mental, and physical health will give you confidence, energy, and peace of mind. With these tools, you can confidently expect to succeed in all you do.

If you’ve planned and prepared to win, there’s no need to worry about the outcome.

If you’ve ever gone bowling, you might have noticed something interesting.

Players get into position, aim carefully, and, finally, release the ball. Then, as it rolls down the alley, they try to direct it toward the pins with their words or body language. Most of these players have concern written all over their faces.

But there’s a problem. Once the ball starts rolling, nothing the players do can change the final outcome, so worrying about the results is a total waste of energy and time! The same is true when you’re aiming to win in life.

The key message is: If you’ve planned and prepared to win, there’s no need to worry about the outcome.

When you’ve set your sights on a vision and done the work to bring it to life, worrying about the end result is pointless. Now, because you’re human, some worrying is natural – it’s normal to worry about your health or finances, for example. But when you worry about imagined worst-case scenarios, you lose hope and become negative. With this mindset, you can’t expect to win.

One way that worry shows up is as a fear of failure. This makes it difficult for you to move past knocks and setbacks. For instance, if you apply for a job and get rejected, you might start thinking that no one will ever hire you. The best way to combat such fear is by remembering that failure doesn’t define you.

Worry also manifests as mind-reading. This is when you jump to negative conclusions about the thoughts and intentions of others. These conclusions are rarely based on facts and they only lead to frustration. To avoid becoming a victim of mind-reading, focus on people’s actions and on what you learn from having open conversations with them.

So, how can you counter the negativity that worry creates? By activating its antidote: positive thinking.

When you choose positive thoughts instead of negative ones, you become capable of so much more. Imagine a sports coach who tells his team that their opponents are faster and better than they could ever hope to be. He wouldn’t motivate anyone! It’d be a miracle if the players stepped onto the field at all!

But if instead he tells the team that they can win, he gives them something to live up to.

Do the same in your own life. Keep a positive mindset and give yourself the best shot at winning.

Final Summary

The key message in this book

The recipe for winning is a simple one: if you plan and prepare to win, you can confidently expect to win. First, you need a vision of success and a strong desire to turn that vision into reality. Next, you must set clear goals and gather the knowledge and skills you’ll need to reach them. If, in that process, you can also nourish mind, body, and spirit, alongside a positive mindset, well then you’ll be perfectly set up to expect success in everything you do.

Actionable advice:

Find your cheerleaders.

The people around you can either enhance or limit your potential. There are those who’ll constantly belittle your ambitions and discourage you from chasing success, these are the people to stay away from. Instead, surround yourself with encouragers – individuals who motivate you to pursue your dreams. To choose your encouragers, look for people who aren’t afraid to take risks and are willing to share what they’ve learned on their own journeys to success.