The Winner, The Loser, And The Break Even Artist


In life, you have spectators and participants, and everything in between, as in dualism, you have everything from top and bottom and what is in between that top and bottom. Indeed, this article is primarily about the participants who genuinely win, not the spectators who want to win without making the efforts of the participants. So, I will cut to the chase: When I came up with this article, I was thinking of the college entrance cheating scandal on the news involving those rich people paying so their less-talented children could go to Ivy League schools and be “party bums” while more deserving people who really need and want the education and qualify for the education get rejected by these very same Ivy League schools. I mention this because, we need genuine participants in life not just glorified spectators who are break even artists who get by cheating to look like participants in life.

We all want an “easy way”, even those of us who work hard genuinely at it, right down to a genius like Michelangelo who said essentially with me paraphrasing of course, “If I could do the Sistine chapel and the Statue of David easily, I would, and if you knew how hard it was worked on these things would not seem like such genius.” That brings me to a point, we all want short cuts to greatness, even the best of us who see “cheaters making it there easy”. I have just mentioned a key to human nature and the human condition there: We all want it to come easy, even those who are willing to work the hardest, smartest and use what we have in great ways that are genuine genius. If we could have it easy without horribly twisted consequences of cheating, we would. That is my point. The difference between winners, losers and break even artists is this. Winners are willing to work smart, work hard or work smart and hard. Genuine losers can only envy and be spectators ultimately because they are not willing to put out, and break even artists either get immediately lucky with the good fortune at the beginning that is not repeatable. Anything less than a genuine winner pays the price, often a big price. I know that is a seemingly “mean”, Vincent Lombardi like thing to say, but I am having the benefit of being honest about it all. In this season of Lent, I am going beyond the truth to honesty, especially with myself. Sure, I gave up even telling “white lies” or lies at all or even half the truth for my Lent sacrifice as a Christian. Indeed, though, I would rather tell it like it is and pay in the right way than lie, follow my “natural” human nature, and pay a bigger price. After all, what do you think the real nature of losers and break even artists are anyway? Especially when they try to duplicate their “lucky successes” with skill and real genius. That is where the real winners come entering anyway, the people willing to develop the skill to repeat the win with skill and earned understanding and be genuinely great.

So, in life, you have spectators and participants, and everything in between, as in dualism, you have everything from top and bottom and what is in between that top and bottom. But going beyond that dualism, you have cold cause and effect which is the ultimate dualism with the cause being the master, and the effect being the servant of the cause. Do a right cause get a right result, however hard, however much it takes, that is the key to really winning.

So, I end with a thought on a book I own and have read a few times by a fellow named Bern Wheeler. It essentially says that we must pay effort to live in a winning way. “The One and Only Law of Winning” is not just a title, it is a reality and a reality the honestly and truly sane live by.