The “seven deadly sins” are:
But what about deadly wins?
When is winning actually losing?
In life, short-term gains are often long-term losses. I’ve experienced this first-hand.
It happens when people back-stab to get ahead. It happens when people are more focused on looking good than actually being good.
The disturbing thing about these deadly wins is that you often don’t realize you’re losing, or you’re not willing to admit it. Deep down, you know what you’re doing is wrong, but that doesn’t stop you.
Here’s the truth:
Nothing stays ignored forever.
Consequences eventually come forth.
Eventually, your house of cards comes crumbling down.
Here are the seven deadliest wins in life:
1. Reaching the top of the ladder
“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” — Stephen R. Covey
Gaining an edge by stepping on others and politicking your way to the top is never a win. Remember who is holding your ladder and don’t step on them. If you do, the ladder will be kicked out from under you.
2. Saving money by cutting people out
People are your greatest asset. Finding and nourishing great talent is an art in relationship building, not a number to manipulate.
Invest in people. Take a moment to actually talk to your people and show them you care. Ask them about their vision and see how it fits with yours. An investment in kindness costs nothing, but the return on the investment is endless.
3. Getting what you want, but with something to hide
You can do all the engineering you want to create your desired outcome. When you get it, everything looks clean to keep your cover. Maybe you didn’t do anything illegal, but the secrets you kept will always come back to haunt you. It’s called karma.
When people are powerless they have two choices:
1. Fight the system / go around the system.
2. Exploit the system.
The ones you must be the most careful around are the ones that exploit the system. Those who fight the system or go around may not be liked by many, but they are open and often transparent about change.
Those who exploit the system find power by gaming the system. These people capitalize on rules to justify bad behavior, gain undue influence and disenfranchise their best people for personal profit.
4. Fighting for what you want by back-stabbing
A punch in the gut comes from an enemy. A stab in the back comes from a friend.
The most challenging circumstances rarely come from distant enemies; they come from those once-thought allies.
Short term gains never outperform the long-term side effects of short-term actions. Stabbing others in the back to get what you want creates too much collateral damage and it’s never OK.
5. Maintaining the status quo
Maintaining the status quo is never a win. You may spend all your time and money to keep things the way they are (because it’s working, it’s tradition, it’s the way we’ve always done it), while giving lip-service to disruption at the same time.
If you switch things up sometimes and actually make changes to your life, you’ll be much more successful. Don’t just talk about doing it either. If you have a brilliant idea that will improve your life, act on it and make it happen.
6. Saving something for a special occasion
“Don’t save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion.” — Gordon Hinckley
Why not use that fancy silverware tonight? Why not do your best work today? Why save that idea for later?
Life is short. Just because that saying is cliche doesn’t make it any less true. Many people save their best projects and ideas for later, only to never start them at all.
Imagine if a rose stayed a bud because it wanted to save the petals for an unknown time in the future. When do budding entrepreneurs, artists, leaders actually do stuff?
Time to step up your game.
The most successful people don’t wait to do their best work. They don’t save up for a special occasion. In fact, the happiest lives are led by those who create greatness daily and build each project on top of the others. Successful people create a body of work instead of a capstone experience.
To become an expert you must have experience, and to get experience you have to experiment.
7. Recognizing your wins (while ignoring your losses)
If you’re an optimist like me, you’ll tend to focus on your wins and brush over your losses. However, while modern-day management gurus will tell you to focus on your strengths (not weaknesses), there is something to say about turning your weaknesses into strengths.
We all have blind spots.
We are all human. Some of us get upset when we get negative feedback while some of us just shake it off.
This isn’t about right or wrong reactions; this is about strategy.
If you want to improve your life, listen to the feedback people give you. More importantly, look to the feedback that your losses gave you and do something about it.
The outcomes you create will tell you more about how you’re winning at life than anything else. Don’t wait for someone else to pick you as a winner; pick yourself …despite your losses. Don’t let winning obsess you so much that your wins are actually losses.
In the end, take full responsibility for your life (both wins and losses) and watch the magic happen.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared medium.com. It has been edited, adapted and republished here with permission.