Men Will Only Play If They Think They Can Win

Why do men hate to lose and why do we live and love to win? On the surface it may appear to be a volatile feeding frenzy and this may be so. Men fight to dominate, to be number and to be on top. And we also take in to account what is best for our group at that time. We ultimate hate being conquered and find it humiliating when we are – this ethos applies to both the individual self and the primary group by which we find ourselves a part of.

If we delve deeper, we discover there are more profound motivations that define our disdain for loss. Whilst there are many reasons for this, one of the drivers comes down to our perception of legacy and how important it is to us – this is linked to our mortality and ultimate fearful dance with death. We are afraid of being remembered as mediocre, not enough or average.

Drawing upon evolutionary theory, male competitiveness originates from the necessity to find reproductive partners in the beginning stages of our evolution as humans. From a purely evolutionary point of view, in which viable offspring is all that matters, it made sense for women to be more selective in choosing partners than men were.

Procreation occupied a significant amount of attention and energy. So, in this case men, could technically impregnate any number of women. Men were somewhat forced to compete with one another. Men who were cautious or fearful were at an evolutionary disadvantage.

Women not only had less need to be competitive with other women, but also had more to fear from the social repercussions of bruising intra-sexual conflicts. Raising children was even more difficult without a cooperative community to call upon if needed.

It can be then be concluded, that it could be possible to manipulate men into negotiating unethically, by creating conditions that evoke buried biological instincts.

Loss symbolises our mortality and weakness. A reminder we are not good enough. Remember, we learn largely in symbols and we have been conditioned to survive through winning. Whether that be surviving the day, meeting a set objective or ‘dominating’ our environment. We know that our strength is limited – it has a use by date. The glory and sense of accomplishment we may muster is finite.

We are aware of how quickly the feeling of winning wears off, how quickly our value can be replaced. We know we can only sit on our throne for so long and then what. So many of us are deeply entrenched in the fear surrounding this that we will do almost anything to maintain the illusion of it – including the extreme behaviour that comes with the mentality ‘win at any cost’.

And we know that losing and winning is a natural part of life. We need the losses to make the wins more meaningful and we also know that winning at any cost can spite us. There is a delicate balance to be had, so how do we strike this? Perhaps men have a condition known as “athazagoraphobia”: An irrational fear of forgetting, being forgotten or ignored, or replaced.

It seems that our male ego is hard wired for winning. We are addicted to the glory and elation that comes with conquering, evolving and expanding our skill set – we essentially want immortality and we think we can achieve it by winning. We want to be remembered and we want to matter to those in our tribe.

We want to create legacy projects, such as having children, building businesses, writing a book, doing exceptionally good deeds, being stars and so forth that others revere. We place so much emphasis in what others think of us. The challenge in this day and age is that we now define tribe by the interconnectedness of billions. No longer are we in small tribes of 20-150 people. Our need to impress is now inflated to unrealistic proportions.

We know too well the harsh brevity of life, but we want to be immortalized. We want a reputation that will be recalled for eternity. Victory is the closest to eternity that our hearts can muster. Our souls long for for enduring glory and reverence. In contemporary times we often rest in our accomplishments, status, material accumulations and physical prowess to bring us to these levels.

But they can only take us so far. Acknowledgment and acceptance will allow us to create a healthier relationship with winning. Winning part of us. We need it. It’s how we relate to it that will define our evolution as men. If we crave it in extremes and do not understand it, we will only really lose. However, if we broaden our view of winning and honour our need to win, whilst expanding our ability to recognise that our self-worth is not solely predicated on this notion, we will outgrow the unhealthy relationship attached to winning.

One is always glad to be of service.


Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author


Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author



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