Seek Small Victories (Because Winning is a Habit)

After a day of work that stretched into night, something came up that ruined everything. All of the hard work was for nothing. I turned my office light off and walked outside into the darkness.

I hadn’t packed food for the day and my blood sugar was low. I grabbed a protein bar and told myself that going to the gym was pointless. Somehow I made it.

I rolled into the parking lot, grabbed my ticket from the machine, and headed inside. When I went to hand the front desk person my ticket to validate, I realized I had lost it.

I went to get another parking ticket and was told that a new one would cost $7.50. “But I just got here,” I explained.

“It doesn’t matter,” she told me, “A lost ticket is a lost ticket. That will be $7.50 please.”

I got into state. “Let’s make a game out of this,” I hyped myself up. “Find a way to talk the woman into giving you a replacement ticket, without paying the fee.”

It wasn’t an argument, because arguing with mindless customer service people is generally pointless. “Rules are rules,” as the drones say. It wasn’t going to be a fight. It was going to be a game, something fun I would play.

In sales, they teach: He who speaks first loses. Silence is uncomfortable. The other person will often say something against her interest just to break the awkwardness of the silence.

I stood like a man with dominant body language. I made eye contact, kept my chin up, and did not let my shoulders slouch.

“Where are you headed to,” she finally asked.

“To the gym.”

“Well, just get a note or something from the gym saying you’re a member and I’ll let you out without a ticket.”


(This isn’t a participation trophy.)


It was a small victory as the money was nothing to me. But it was a victory I needed. It fed my soul and my workout ended up being incredible.

Every day you have a chance to win – or to lose. You can build an amazing blog or a crappy one. You can have a Mickey Mouse workout at the gym or a high intensity training session.

Seek victory on the small things and you will find victory on the great things.

Winning isn’t just something that happens. It’s something you choose to do, every day. As Vince Lombardi noted:

Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

What are you going to do today? Are you going to be a loser or a winner? Are you going to sit down on the couch in your khakis and open up some brewskis to forget how much your life sucks?

Or are you going to change your life, starting right now?

Winning is a habit and also a choice. What’s your choice?

Today is the day, a new beginning, a new opportunity to win.

What are you going to win at?

  • Dman

    You’re only successful because you’re black. 😉

    I think this philosophy is pretty much like what you described in your weight loss podcast. You need to pick a direction for improvement, and consistently make little steps in that direction. In time, you will be successful. I think most people fail, at least in part, because they make steps that are too big (because they wan’t something right now).

    • Danger & Play Blog

      Momentum is everything.

      Think of the metaphor, “stuck in a rut.” That means you’re not moving anywhere.

      Think of having your car stuck and it won’t move. You push the car forward, and it might just move an inch. Then it rocks back.

      You let the car rock back a little, then you push it forward a little more. Then the car comes rocking back. Then you push it farther still.

      Eventually you are out of the rut.

      Just one small little push is often enough to get you out of the worst rut.

  • Sean Tessier

    Great story. One of my major challenges has been to push authorotative rule-nazis into bending their will for me. Silence is great tactic. Another good one is, “How can you help me here?”

    • Danger & Play Blog

      A good way to open is with, “I had a problem I was hoping you could help me with?”

      That makes you seem like you aren’t going to be a typical jerk like most customers.

      It builds rapport with the person and creates a team atmosphere.

      • Sean Tessier

        I’ve experimented with letting them appear to have the upper hand (giving them the power to choose benevolence), because people in fake authority love that, but teamwork is an even better frame.

  • Rick Disko

    I really like the message of consistency in the quest for self improvement.

    A focus on winning each interaction as little as they seem is great advise as well.

    Nice post and good example of getting to the gym after a long day and low/poor food intake. I struggle with that myself

    • Danger & Play Blog

      Just go. Absent some freak accident that could happen if you stayed on your couch or just crossed the street: No man has ever felt worse after going to the gym than he felt going into it.

  • Von Munchausen

    I like this concept. I have been trying to play these “games” more and more lately.
    This is motivating me to make it a daily thing.

    • Danger & Play Blog

      “State change” is often related to “frame change.”

      If you reframe a conflict as a game, you go from being in an acrimonious and blind rage state into a playful and confident state.

      Instead of RAGING you think, “OK, let’s do this!”

  • allifuckingdoiswin

    This message is lost because it was delivered in your over the top, frat-boy douche manner ;p

    Good shit though. It is very easy to forget the little things. The little things can add up and become overwhelming, such as a thousand little streams joining to become a big river.

    As a wise man said, “we are bent and troubled by invisible hands.”

    Whether you know it or not, little things add up. I am going to start focusing a little more on these “little wins”

    Great post D&P.

  • anon1

    to paraphrase kanye west back when he was good, “you are damn near killin’ this shit”.

    very impressive man hot streak of out of the park articles

    • Danger & Play Blog

      Just getting warmed up brother.

  • LAdude

    Another inspiring post D&P. What advice would you have for an 18 year old guy who has been insecure and shy his whole life to become a more dominant and confidant man?

    • Danger & Play Blog

      Keep taking risks. Get your ass kicked by life.

      Remember that where you start is not where you are going to end up.

      Don’t look at who you are now and compare yourself to others; that is a recipe for feeling negative and insecure.

      Instead, imagine the man you are going to become.

  • Hugo To

    And, so begins the winning begins…

    Winning can be about framing your life and it’s activities.
    Did you say no to that triple cheese burger? Winning.
    Did you skip the snooze button? Winning.
    Did you go to the gym? Winning.
    Did you take your cold shower? Winning.

    Small, small and small. Eventually it paints the bigger picture.

  • Aaron

    Ric Drasin, bodybuilding and beating MS by seeking small victories:

  • Jacob S.

    This is fantastic advice! Recently been following D&P and been listening to a bunch of your podcasts, brother. Keep up the fantastic work man! Really digging this story, thanks for sharing it as well. Every day and very minute is definitely a chance to make a better choice and a better chance to win.

    Ultimately, I’d like to thank you for your wisdom, insight and the bad ass posts and podcasts you put out, Mike. You and everyone here have come together on here to great a great community with positive energy and intelligence.