Have you ever worried about being (or becoming) a loser?
One of my email subscribers recently sent me this question:
“I am currently in a downward spiral of becoming a full-fledged loser… I eat terribly, I’m not making my sleep a priority when I know I should, I’m not making any progress on my goals, I haven’t seen any of my friends in weeks. All of my worst habits feel like they have a lot of momentum right now. And it scares the shit out of me. Any tips on steering myself out of this self-imposed loser spiral?”
To which, I replied, “Yes, I have much to say.”
In this article, I lay out ten things you can do to avoid becoming a loser, and ten things you can do to start being (more of) a winner. And I wrap everything up in a tight little bow at the end, giving you a swift and loving kick in the butt so you can start taking action immediately.
What Is A Loser?
For the purposes of this article, a loser is someone who:
– Wastes their time on low-leverage bullshit
– Perpetually embraces comfort and ease over challenge and discipline
– Complains endlessly
– Is stuck in an endless feedback loop of fear
– Secretly loves being stuck in a rut
– Is painfully selfish, but usually won’t admit to being selfish
– Has essentially given up in their lives
A loser does absolutely nothing of significance with their time, energy, and attention, and then wraps it all up by blaming the circumstances of their life on someone or something else (their parents, their childhood, the government, a bad breakup that happened years ago, etc.).
You can spot a loser by the way they speak, spend their time, and who they associate with.
Losers don’t value their time or energy highly, so it’s easy for them to make decisions that sabotage their efforts.
Losers eat loser food. They binge on processed bullshit that keeps them half-asleep in their waking hours.
Losers complain about the “1%” having all of the money and wish that they would distribute their wealth among the lower and middle class… because losers want to be proverbially breastfed and handheld even when they’re adults.
Losers stay up late, sleep in, ignore their bodies, and waste their time on an endless merry-go-round of superficial nothingness because they don’t have the courage to give their unique gifts to the world.
Are Some People Just Destined To Be Losers?
Are there some people who are just destined to be losers from birth? Absolutely not.
Are most people losers? Hard to say.
Is anyone a loser all of the time? No.
Being a loser is not a static way of being. It is not a forever thing.
Losers are grown. Cultivated. They’re created over time. And losers can turn themselves into winners by changing their beliefs and their behaviours.
So if eating like shit, treating your body terribly, having poor sleep habits, and making compulsive, short-term focused decisions slowly turns you into a loser, how can you become a winner? What’s the secret key that transforms you from a loser into a winner?
First, this concept is imperative to understand.
Fixed mindset vs. Growth mindset
Some people believe that mindset is a fixed entity.
In other words, they have the foundational belief that, ‘I am the way I am, and there’s no changing it.’
“I’ve always believed this, so I’ll believe it forever.”
“I’ve always been bad at ______ so I’ll always be bad at _____.”
“I can’t do _____ because I simply am this way.”
The healthy version of a fixed mindset is self-acceptance, self-honouring, and realism. Knowing who you truly are at your core, honouring those parts of yourself, and knowing what your real life limitations are.
But, for the most part, a fixed mindset keeps you stuck.
If you don’t believe that people can change, then, magically, you’ve already gotten yourself off the hook for not needing to change. Because it if isn’t possible, then why bother, right? Wrong.
Enter: growth mindset.
People with a growth mindset see everything as alterable.
“I don’t know how to do this, but I’m excited to figure it out.”
“I haven’t been historically good at ____, but I’m willing to study, learn, practice, and get better in this area.”
“I’ve never been able to achieve this in the past, but with the right teachers/mentors/models in place, I’m sure I can figure it out with a bit of help.”
If you believe that you can change, and that our brains, beliefs, and abilities are malleable, then you’ll be that much more willing to take on new challenges and overcome them.
A losers mind is steeped in loser thoughts because it’s easier to hide behind a foggy wall of fear, insecurity, and incompetence than it is to consciously choose to take responsibility for one self and make forward progress in life.
A winner is steeped in winner thoughts because they have slowly earned their mindset over time, by achieving results in the real world, and because their beliefs have been cultivated by what they have allowed into their mind.
Just like you can let high quality food nutrients into your body, you can also let high quality brain nutrients into your mind by feeding yourself with beliefs, thoughts, and world views that are encouraging instead of fear-based or self-defeating.
And, again, I want to stress the importance of the idea that being a loser isn’t a black and white scenario where you’re either a loser or winner across your entire life. It’s more nuanced than that. Winners can have loser days. Or loser mornings. Or loser moments.
The point is to recognize when you are inhabiting a state of being that is more conducive to loser psychology versus when you are living from your inner winner.
It’s not either/or. You can’t get permanently locked in one or the other.
Understanding this process is about the constant battle between your inner loser and your inner winner.
You get to choose which one you are living from, throughout your entire life, moment to moment.
The battle never ends. And you always have to be on the lookout for the influences that want to drag you down into your inner loser.
How Do You Steer Clear Of Becoming A Loser?
There are so many things you can do to avoid becoming a loser.
These are the ten most important things I could think of, that will give you most positive returns on avoiding becoming a loser both in the short and long-term.
1. Stop being so fucking selfish
Losers are incredibly selfish.
Because their mindsets are steeped in fear (there isn’t enough for everyone, everyone’s out to get me, it’s a dog eat dog world out there, etc.), they’re always thinking about what they can get from others.
Losers obsess over how they can get, much more than they think about how they can give.
If you’re always thinking about yourself, and never about others, then you need to start counteracting this as soon as possible. More on this soon.
2. Stop letting fear win
Notice how much of your life is dictated by your fears.
Do you not attempt difficult tasks because you’re afraid you’ll fail?
Do you not pursue your real passions and dreams because you’re afraid others will judge you for attempting, or succeeding?
Do you avoid extending to people, going to social events, or putting yourself out there because you fear rejection?
Staying stuck in a fixed, fear based mindset will get you absolutely nowhere.
Unless you consider dying from a heart attack in your mid-40’s and being found covered in Cheeto dust hunched over in your dank recliner in front of the big game ‘somewhere.’
3. Stop licking your wounds and make something of yourself
If you hold back on leaning into your potential because you experienced pain in the past, then you’re simply using this as an excuse to not deploy courage in real time. Which is what a loser does.
Does telling your sob stories get you energy, attention, and a sense of significance? Do you feel important when people say “Oh wow, that must have been so tough… no wonder you’ve had such a rough time getting out of this rut”, and you’ve been telling the same story for years? Recognize the secondary payoff you get by not moving past this… and then stop telling the story.
The past is the past. Take responsibility for yourself and move forwards.
4. Stop giving so much of a shit what people think of you
Are you crippled by others opinions of you?
Well, stop it.
The truth is this: everyone has their own shit going on. People BARELY think about you.
And even if someone else does invest their time and energy tracking you and what you’re doing, if they’re talking shit about you (in their heads, or out loud), who fucking cares?
You’re going to die one day. I promise. The singularity will not save you.
Do you want your life to have been about not upsetting anyone? Do you want your primary, lifelong motivation to have come from avoiding rousing other peoples judgments of you?
What a fucking waste of a life that approach is.
You are going to upset someone, no matter what.
You either live a life that is true to yourself, and some other people might notice and judge you for it. Or you live a life that is (if this was even possible) acceptable to everyone else, and in the process, end up being upset with yourself because you’ll be swallowing what’s true for you.
As the saying goes, “If you want to avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
5. Stop being an inactive, lazy fuck
Losers ignore their bodies.
If we neglect our bodies (these incredible machines that do so much for us) then we deserve to have them stage a revolt against us.
Our bodies are like cars. We can either ignore them and eventually have them rust up and turn into the hideous junker that’s just sitting out in the rain, completely unusable. Or we can treat them phenomenally well and have them perform like supercars. I suppose that’s where the analogy breaks down. Because if you put a 200 horsepower load on a 100 horsepower engine, the engine breaks. Whereas when you put a 200 horsepower load on your 100 horsepower muscle, your muscle becomes a 200 horsepower muscle.
Our bodies are brilliant, adaptive, and so wise. Treat them like the gifts that they are.
6. Stop eating terribly
If you’re cramming low-nutrient, high-calorie noise (aka loser fuel) into your body, then over time your body and mind will be inherently shittier than if you were giving yourself high octane fuel to run on.
Cut out soda, and alcohol, and any food items that you could semi-jokingly refer to as ‘plastic’, ‘poison’, or ‘cement’, and it would make sense.
If the majority of your diet consists of fake foods that were manufactured by a lab, then you deserve to have a shitty loser brain that doesn’t function like it is capable of functioning. Garbage in, garbage out.
7. Stop doing things that weaken you
Pay close attention to all of the things that you do in a normal week. Then notice how many of those things actually sap energy from you and make your weaker.
In the long-run, does getting shit faced give you more than it takes… or is it a net negative experience? Probably the latter. Cut it out.
Hanging out with your friends who love to spend hours smoking weed and complaining about everything in their lives might feel good in the moment because you get to connect over something… but is it actually fucking up your life more than it helps it? Change social circles.
Do you watch the news because you think that it’s important to stay up to date on current events, but you end up just feeling more fearful, demotivated, and listless? Stop putting that noise into your head.
If you’re playing small, afraid of life, and feeling miserable, then this is simply a management issue. Stop doing the things that make you feel so shitty, and you’ll feel less shitty. I know, revolutionary idea, but it works.
8. Stop whittling away your time on things that you know don’t add anything to your life
Do you really need to spend twenty hours a week studying sports stats?
Does staying up until 3am scrolling through your Instagram feed make you smarter?
Is there any benefit to checking your email, Facebook, or cell phone every twenty minutes?
If you’re stuck in a loser spiral it’s because you haven’t been allocating your time appropriately.
No need to judge yourself. Simply make better decisions about where you put your time and attention.
9. Stop spending time with negative people who shit on your dreams
The fastest and most effective life hack of all of the life hacks comes down to this:
Who you spend your time with matters.
Jim Rohn had it right. We become the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
If you spend most of your time with the same five broke, out of shape people who sit around getting wasted and complaining, then you will slowly become that.
Conversely, if you spend most of your time around conscientious, caring, generous, loving millionaires who are in good shape, and are intentional about what thoughts they allow into their mind, then you will eventually become that.
If you currently spend a lot of time around people who are bitching, complaining, and shitting on your/other people’s dreams, it’s time to cut them loose. Like, yesterday.
You aren’t doing yourself or them any favours by steeping yourself in their toxic mindset.
Of all of the decisions in your life that you should be the most ruthless around, this is #1.
Do not settle for toxic, enabling relationships that drag you down. They will drain your soul and make you miserable… and you will be the only one to blame for having allowed it.
I can’t overstate the importance of this point enough. Do not settle with your social circle from a place of laziness, fear, or a misplaced sense of ‘loyalty.’ What about loyalty to yourself?
10. Be ruthless about cutting out all of the things in your life that make you feel awful
See the common theme across the last three points?
Cut out bullshit. This is the only way you can create the space to bring in good things.
If you need to take a (metaphorical) machete to your life and hack your way through all of the weeds you have built up (in your mind, in your actions, in your beliefs, in your relationships), then do it.
You can’t let go of being a loser unless you let go of all of your loser habits, friends, and thoughts.
How Do You Become A Winner?
So if those are the loser behaviours to avoid, how does one become a winner?
Start with these ten tips. Put even a third of these into action and your life will change faster than you thought possible.
1. Start focusing on how you can help other people
Losers are a drain on the world because they’re always looking out for themselves above all else. Winners focus on adding value to the lives of others.
Literally all of my friends who are the most successful (financially/in their careers) and most popular (socially/relationally) are simply givers. They are all genuine, generous, big-hearted people who just want to make a positive impact on the world. They want to leave every interaction that they have with the other person having benefited in some way.
So, both in your personal and professional life, start looking for ways to be of service.
Have a career? Constantly invest in your skills, knowledge, and abilities so that you can be even more helpful to the market/customers/people you serve.
Have friends that you care about? Always keep your finger on the pulse of how their lives are going. Check in with them often. Look for creative ways to proactively add value to their lives. Regularly tell them how much you love them and why.
Knowing you, or being served by you, should feel like a gift on every level. If it isn’t, you’ve got some work to do.
And this isn’t to say that you aren’t also allowed to receive energy from your relationships. Of course you are. There will always be a natural flow of reciprocity in any friendship/relationship.
But don’t be surprised if, after putting some energy into focusing on helping others more, you start making more money than you’ve ever made, and you have more people wanting to be friends with you than you can possibly keep up with.
2. Embrace challenges
A loser always wants the easy way out. Winners know that facing and overcoming challenges is the key to building genuine confidence.
Let go of the mindset that anything happens to you, and start seeing your life as a series of events that happen ‘for’ you. Boom. Guaranteed one way ticket from Victimhood to Winnersville.
To supercharge this process, work out/lift weights regularly, always be reading a new book and/or taking a new course or training, and write down and take consistent action on your biggest goals every single day. No excuses. You’ll not only be making progress in the world, but you’ll simultaneously be making progress in how your mind relates to the world.
3. Fill your body with high quality food and thoughts
Your body is a temple. I mean, sure, it’s also a decaying lump of mass that will eventually decompose fully into the earth… but while you still have it, you might as well treat it with respect.
Standard rules apply for nutrition. Eat real food, mostly vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and ample greens with low processed sugar and fake food. And don’t stuff yourself at every meal.
As for the thoughts that you allow into your mind, this starts with who you surround yourself with. Spend time with people who lift you up and inspire you (with how they live) and you will become like them.
If your current friends suck the life out of you, ditch them and invest in new relationships. Find people who make you a better person and do whatever you can to add value to their lives.
If it’s exceedingly difficult for you to find your tribe, I’d also recommend plugging your brain into positive, impactful, healthy minds that have come before you. Listen to podcasts, audio programs, or read books of people who inspire you. Autobiographies. Affirmations. Self-help books. All of it helps. Just find the medium and the authors that appeal the most to you and steep your mind in it.
When I was first transitioning away from my old social circle into my more empowering one, I would devour audio programs by people like Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Eben Pagan, and anyone else who appealed to me at the time. I would listen to them for hours on end while I was going for long walks, or at the gym, or driving. I turned my life into a self-help seminar.
At night I would devour books on the topics of emotional mastery, financial mastery, psychology, and anything else that I wanted to grow in.
Find the empowering messages that you need to hear, and let your mind soak in it around the clock. Especially if you’re in a place where you haven’t yet found your face-to-face real life tribe. Let this method be the stepping stone that gets you there.
Contrast this method to the loser who steeps their mind in reality TV, fear based news programming, and all of the other calorically empty noise that passes for entertainment these days.
And remember… consuming this type of media means nothing if you aren’t putting your insights into practice on a consistent basis. Don’t just become a self-help junkie who drowns in audio programs but continues to live the life of a loser. Inspiration + action = results. Don’t get stuck in the learning phase. Take action.
4. Invest in yourself before anything else
What’s the best investment you could possibly make? Retirement plan? Bitcoin? Apple stock? No.
You are the single greatest asset that you could ever invest your money and energy into.
On the micro scale this could look like taking ten minutes as soon as you wake up to drink water, meditate, and give yourself some room to breathe (so that you can then show up more powerfully for others throughout your day).
On the macro scale, this could look like coming to see yourself as a life long learner, and constantly upgrading your competency in your area of expertise… and investing in programs, mentors, and new skills to get there.
You are the most significant force multiplier of what will make your life either a grand epic that people can learn from, or a cautionary tale that people will seek to avoid replicating.
5. Move your body
It’s never been easier to ignore our bodies, live in our heads, and drown in all of the flashy technology that keeps us stationary and disembodied. And, by extension, it’s never been more important to battle against this sense of society wide physical complacency.
It’s so fucking sad that a doctor can post an article in a reputable health journal about the proven benefits of walking and people lose their shit. “Oh yeah! Walking! What a great idea! How come I didn’t think about doing the thing that my body is clearly designed to want to do?”
As I mentioned earlier in the article, your body is like a car… ignored, it turns into a rusty junker, invested in, it can turn into a well oiled supercar.
Find a movement practice that you genuinely enjoy, and make it a non-negotiable priority multiple times a week.
Dance. Yoga. Parkour. Ultimate frisbee. Cycling. Train hill sprints. Train with a boxing coach. Whatever. As long as it makes you sweat and you enjoy doing it, you’re good to go.
6. Find friends that encourage you, lift you up, and inspire you, and treat those friends like gold
The value of having close friends that lift your world up can not be overstated.
If you don’t know how to find friends, read my articles How To Make Friends As An Adult, and 5 Ways To Immediately Feel Less Lonely. The TL;DR of these two articles is that you should 1) extend to people, and 2) add value/be a good friend.
When you find your tribe, treat them with the utmost care, love, and respect.
Good friends will keep you grounded in your highs, and support you in getting through your harder times.
Even with all of the amazing blessings in my life (perfect health, fulfilling career, men’s group of 3+ years, etc.), my closest friends are still the greatest blessing I have. I wish the same thing for you. You deserve to be loved, supported, and cared for. And you will be. As soon as you align with who you’re meant to be in the world, meet the people that attract to you from that place, and then invest that same love and care into them.
And if you have yet to find these people in your life, I would recommend you look at two things. 1) Acknowledge where you might be out of alignment in how you spend your time. And 2) recognize the ways in which you still hold back from really leaning into your friendships. Do these two things and you’re golden.
7. Accept your life as it is, accept total responsibility for the way that it is, and then seek to improve it
Most people get into ‘self-development’ from a place of self-rejection.
They think, “These things are broken/wrong/unlovable about me and I need to fix them as soon as possible.”
Leaning into a growing or healing journey from this mindset is incredibly unproductive.
You must first start from a place of self-acceptance (because nothing heals without self-acceptance, aka love). Accept your life and yourself completely as they are, and then seek to improve those things from a place of love and self-compassion.
It might seem like a negligible difference but it isn’t.
The difference between ‘I’m going to start working out because I’m a fat fuck who no one will love’ and ‘I’m going to start exercising more regularly because I love myself and my body deserves to feel agile and strong’ is massive.
Start with self-acceptance. Once rooted in that place, then seek to improve.
8. Prioritize everything that makes you feel most alive
A loser is someone who is a walking zombie. Sleepwalking through life. Going through the motions.
A winner is someone who sucks the bone marrow out of life. Passionately learning, growing, and giving. Chasing their bliss, passions, and aliveness.
Whatever makes you come alive, do more of that.
Time with certain people. Time engaged in certain forms of exercise. Creating a certain kind of art or giving a certain kind of gift to the world.
Fill your calendar with those things, and you will win. Internally, in the feedback mechanism of your emotional state, and also out there, in the feedback that you get from the real world.
9. Find a mentor and make their lives better
Remember earlier in the article when I mentioned that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with? When most people think about this fact, they often just think about their peers. Their same-aged friends. And while it may be true that you spend the most (quantity) time with them, I would encourage you to seek out a mentor as well.
With widespread disconnection, isolation, and mistrust in modern society, it seems that the prevalence of the mentor/mentee relationship has dwindled. Which is a travesty.
One of the best ways that you can accomplish absolutely anything in your life is to seek out someone who has already walked the path that you have, and find a way to learn from them.
Some mentors will be paid. Some unpaid. Some will be relatives of yours that you can leverage.
And while you can ask for some direct advice from certain mentors for free for a time, if you’re looking to do the kind of deep learning that you likely need, eventually you will need to find a way to reciprocate value to them.
This is especially true for anyone who is in high demand.
Anyone with a following, fame, or someone who has achieved significant success will generally have more people than they can handle wanting energy from them.
The only way for these mentors to sustainably help the people they want to help without being drained by spreading themselves too thin must receive energy in return. Besides, nothing of value in life comes for free. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either trying to sell you something… or is enabling you to regress to a childlike state when all of your needs were met effortlessly without you having to even ask.
So if there’s something that matters to you that you’re trying to achieve (getting in better shape, making more money, finding the love of your life, etc.) and you find a mentor that has the life that you want, and they, as a person, resonate with you deeply, find a way to add a disproportionate amount of value to their lives so that them not working with you would be foolish. Now, you can’t force someone to be your mentor. Just like you can’t force someone to be your friend, or your lover. All you can do is show up, do your best to make their lives significant better, and then ask for what you want directly.
And if your mind resists the idea of paying a mentor for their energy, then this is likely an unhealed parental wound. If your inner child throws a tantrum that sounds like, ’They have what I want and they should just give it to me without being compensated’, then you can be certain that you have regressed. And the way out of this is to pick yourself up by your adult suspenders, and commit to taking responsibility and showing up in your power.
Ask for what you want. Be prepared to reciprocate. Keep showing up and playing full out. Repeat.
10. Play the long game
Losers are eternally short-term focused. Winners play the long game.
A typical loser eats food that makes them feel good in the moment, but then shitty later. They make spending decisions that serve them for minutes, or days, or weeks, but that screw them up in the long-run. They treat people in a way that feels good today, but that burns bridges over the long haul.
Winners eat food that gives them sustainable energy and serves their body in the long run. They use their money in a way that sets them up for a good life. They treat people in a way that builds deep trust and healthy interdependence.
This is a consistent through line in what makes someone a winner or a loser.
If your life is the life of a loser, analyze all of the ways in which you make decisions that serve you in the short term.
If you want to flip your loser life on its head, start making all of your decisions in a way that set you up the best in the long term.
Invest in your education as if you’ll live forever.
Instead of prioritizing your food choices exclusively on what tastes good in the moment (generally things loaded with white salt, processed sugar, and low quality fats), start eating in a way that will slow the natural degradation of your body. Before you eat most of the food you eat, ask yourself the questions, “Will this give me more energy in a few hours from now, or less?”, and “Is this choice more or less likely to give me an otherwise preventable disease, several decades from now?”
Spend time around people that are challenging for you to be around because they call you to be your greatest self (even though it might often be confronting in the moment).
In all areas of your life, ask yourself, “Is this only good for me now, or will this set me up for a better future?”
Obviously, the point isn’t to get obsessive with this stuff.
By no means am I admonishing eating junk food, making occasional impulsive spending decisions, or spending time with people who aren’t the best for you but are entertaining nonetheless. Don’t become a puritanical, zero-adventure, monk-like boring person with no stories to tell. You want to spend $700 on a concert ticket? Go for it. Want to skip your workout for a few days because you’d rather play Fruit Ninja on your iPad? Do it. You want to eat an entire triple-topping large pizza because you just got dumped? Binge it up.
The point is to monitor what percentage of the time you’re making loser decisions, versus winner decisions… and adjusting accordingly.
Again, this is all sliding scale stuff. Not black and white.
Make good decisions, most of the time… and you’ll be better off than most.
I’m simply asking you to observe your mind and see how often you’re making decisions based off of immediate payoff, versus long term rewards.
A loser only prioritizes the moment. They’re hedonistic, impulsive, and lack discipline.
Winners know that the best rewards come with time. Winners are patient, strategic, and have a strong enough mind to have cultivated both discipline and a genuine love for the journey.
Not Being A Loser: 101
So there you have it. The ultimate guide to not being a loser.
If you read all the way through, you’ll have gotten some immediately actionable takeaways from this piece. But, more importantly, if you read closely, you’ll see the consistent patterns in the mindset of what turns someone from a loser into a winner.
Ultimately, it’s the mindset that matters.
It’s your mindset that has you go after what you want to go after. It’s your mindset that gives you the persistence to keep going when things get difficult. And it’s your mindset that keeps you happy, healthy, and thriving long after most of the others have thrown in the towel.
When the loser admits defeat, the winner smiles and carries on. The winner engages fully in life and loves the process… trusting that good things await them.
How To Not Be A Loser, Starting Today
This article is just under 6,000 words long. It takes the average person roughly 20-30 minutes to read that long of a piece of writing.
If you found this article overwhelming, there are two things you can do, right now.
1) Bookmark this article so you can keep coming back to it and progressively let go of your loser thoughts and behaviours.
2) Take action on the smallest, most bite-sized thing that you found intriguing in this article. When you feel overwhelmed, always start small. Decide on a tiny action, do it, feel better about yourself, and carry on/repeat from there.
I believe in you. If you’ve made it this far, I know you can turn your life around, and make progress on whatever is most important to you.
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. If you enjoyed this piece about not being a loser, you will probably also love reading literally all of the following articles.