What does it mean to win in life?
To the average man, it is to attain honour, distinction, victory. It is achievement, fulfilment, acknowledgment, actualisation.
It is to conquer or defeat, overcome or arrive. It is is to excel or exceed where others flounder.
It is to qualify where others fail. It is to surpass where many lag, lack of recede.
Winning qualifies the winner for celebration, entitling him or her to special privileges.
Winning puts the winner on the dais to be garlanded, decorated, awarded and rewarded.
Unfortunately while most people seek to win in the world of business and career, in politics and sports, in arts and music, in academia, the parliament or the judiciary; while they seek mention and decoration in the media and before the paparazzi of the camera and hot kleiglights, while they seek to dazzle on the field and the runway, on the soapbox or in the boardroom, even in the palaces and state houses, they fail woefully at the home front, the first quarter any man or woman of honour must achieve victory.
It is all in how man seeks honour.
The dilemma here is the definition or appreciation of honour, power and position.
For what should we seek them, how should they be sought and to what use should we put them when we attain them?
There are people who cannot give altruistic interpretation of what they seek.
Since they lack any valid, utilitarian or philosophical justification, they will pursue it anyhow. For them, only the end justifies the means.
Therefore, they can venture into sharp practices or cut corners, they can corrupt and compromise, they can kill and risk the lives of their family members.
They can sabotage. They can blackmail. They can lie and cheat to the top and the podium or the dais.
They can rig or bribe themselves to power and office. They don’t mind the price to pay once the gain will be theirs.
In all these, they abdicate their responsibilities in many essential areas of life, especially the home front, in their mindless pursuit of fame and wealth.
They can even abuse themselves and where they are. They can exploit and manipulate others around them or the system they superintend.
But they fail in human essence even if they attain eminence in public eyes.
Because the path they toed to success entailed a breach of process and natural order of success, they lose, like irreverent sinners, the peace of the soul.
They lack security as they seek cover or succour more heinously.
Even then, the path to winning or success may still be easy or effortless for others.
The real challenge is what it takes to remain there. So between those who find a short cut to win and those who had a normal or smooth run to the top, there remain an enduring challenge of sustainability.
Nobody prays to fall from grace to grass.
If we dread this, we must come to terms with certain natural, philosophical and spiritual imperatives.
One is to be found in the Yoruba ethical poetic rendition, Ise loogun ise, simply summarised as diligence.
The others are encompassed in the value of Integrity. Third is patience and ultimately conscience, nurtured by faith in and accountability to God.
These ethical indices are what should serve as the moral compass of life, not the mentality of winning at all cost.
When they define our pursuits, we are moderated, we are conscious of the rights of others, we are awake to our responsibilities in all contexts.
We are focussed on stability and sustainability of the system.
We are concerned about our future and the serenity of our souls.
We are mindful of what would be inscribed on our tombstone should we breathe or last and the legacy we bequeathe the successor generations.
For everyone who desires greatness, these ideals should guide our steps to to winning in life and not the drive to win at all costs.