In grade school we used to play a game called “Steal the Bacon” in gym class. It involved splitting into two teams, assigning each kid a number, and sending the teams to opposite ends of each side of the basketball court.
The teacher would put an eraser, or the “bacon” in the middle of the court. At random, she’d call out 1 or 2 numbers and the kids with the called numbers from each team would run out to the middle of the court. The object was to grab the bacon and run back to your team’s end line without getting tagged by your opponents. Any of the called numbers could steal the bacon and if you made it back, your team got a point. However if you got tagged, the other team got the point.
I hated this game. Hated it badly. I was a slow runner so I would either ALWAYS get tagged or NEVER catch the other person. I hated it.
That was until I figured out how to win in a different way.
Even though I was a slow runner I was usually just fast enough to get out there so that the “face-off” would still happen. This was the moment where you are both circling the bacon, waiting for the most opportune time to steal it. Most kids wanted to steal the bacon — myself included. But here’s where I changed my strategy.
I never tried to steal it.
Since you could get a point by tagging the stealer, I set my sights on tagging the other person the MOMENT they grabbed the bacon. So I would hover over the other person, just waiting for them to try to steal it. Eventually they would make the mistake of going for it and my hand was there to tag them immediately. It didn’t work every time but it worked most of the time.
I went from never winning to winning about 75% of the time just by changing my strategy.
This is true for many things in life. By changing the way you look at something or changing your definition of success you can often change a losing proposition to a winning one.
So whether it’s a physical chore like getting up from a chair or your job or a course that you’re having difficulty with — take a moment to look at the problem differently. How else can you win? Can you redefine what it means to win by changing your goals?
Remember, you don’t always have to steal the bacon.