Dying To Win is my philosophy of contests, fights and competitive encounters. It aspires to be a mode of therapy – to get to know oneself better through sport, games, and skill. The concepts are a unique mix of existential philosophy, psychoanalysis, Zen buddhism, Stoicism, plus 18 years (and counting) of ring fighting. James Southwood.
It cannot be bad ipso facto to be a loser, otherwise on what moral basis would you inflict loss on another?
Human beings have a tendency to overvalue self-esteem. Self-esteem is the prop for our personal meaning; our vanguard against insignificance; our defence against loss of identity. A self-esteem trade feels like gambling with our existence. This is why we tremble at the start of a contest or a fight.
The only way to fight at your best is to dispose of a contest that means everything as though it means nothing.
The ability to apply maximum effort towards winning, without actually caring whether you win or lose is the ultimate attainment in a contest.
Play is its own end: it is purposeless, creative, free from doubt. All playful effort is given freely and, in this way, the ultimate contestant is a master of play.
Maximum respect for your opponent and the game is only given when you apply your maximum effort towards the game’s goal.
The winner exists only by virtue of the loser: they sit at opposite ends of the same dipole. Ergo, you should thank your opponent heartily when you win, for without him/her you could not have done it.
Engaging in a contest – a matter of making decisive choices – is a way of understanding our own existence more clearly.
‘No trouble losin’ when you got a good excuse. And winning — that can be heavy on your back too’. The Hustler.
In a contest or fight, the perpetual obligation to choose sets the conditions in which the self is lost and found.
Competitions or contests make us choose between motivation and fate.
‘Action is the high road to self esteem’. Bruce Lee
A contest, fight, or competitive encounter – if approached properly – can be a Crucible of Self-Discovery.
‘One who does not understand that the whole power of the spirit is required for dying, and that the hero always dies before he dies, that man will not get so very far with his conception of life’. ‘Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling