How To Win

What Hollywood, the Grammys and the Oscars can teach you about winning

By Hugh Upsher

Congratulations, you’re the best! You kind of knew that already though. It is undeniable that affirmation is important to humans, but is dishing out golden idols the best way to go about it? Of course it is! Those shiny trinkets look great on any mantelpiece. Winning can be a powerful drug, and having your name read out in front of all your respected peers can be the ultimate high. We know that everyone reacts to winning differently, so I’m going to run you through some of the different types of winners that are out there.

The Indestructible 

These types of people are rare, as no matter how potent their dose, their behavior isn’t affected by their wins at all. Even when exposed to winning over long periods of time, they remain stable, even graceful humans. Beyoncé is one of these people who have an impermeable character. She should be given a prize for how well she has managed to accept the volume of praise received, without shaving all her hair off or trying to become an astronaut.

The straight edge approach

Leonardo DiCaprio never touches that Oscar stuff. When it comes to Academy Awards, he has a zero tolerance policy. Sure he dabbles in nominations, who doesn’t? But you’ll never catch him waving an Oscar around thanking his director or agent with tears leaking from his squinty eyes. It’s just not his style. The reality is, not winning an Oscar is probably the only thing stopping him from becoming a real-life incarnation of his Wolf of Wall Street character Jordan Belfort. Secretly he knows that, and that’s why he has to abstain at all costs.

The recovering addict

How do you explain Kanye West’s most recent descent into madness? Consider the fact that this twenty-one Grammy award winner has been going cold turkey for three years straight now. Sure, his album Yeezus was critically acclaimed, but it didn’t rake in the sweet Grammy horn he has become dependent on over the last ten years. What he is experiencing now is the ugly side of withdrawal. Common side effects include lashing out at current Grammy winners and stream-of-thought tweet rampages.

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game!” is something one of my high school coaches told our hockey team once. It really helped with the morale because we lost all the time. It truly is a great message, except in the context of sport, where winning is literally everything.

Life however is far more complex, I can’t imagine Aung San Suu Kyi or Malala Yousafzai were thinking about their chances of Nobel Prize wins when fighting their respective causes. If you are only seeking the affirmation of others with your work then you are most likely doing it wrong. Sometimes a participation certificate is all you really need.