Winner’s Road &Raquo; Img 0504

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference

From the poem The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost

Isn’t it cool? Every day that you wake up on this side of the grass is another opportunity to win. Winners begin each day with anticipation – looking forward to finding the something colored beautiful moments in this great day that will can only be found on Winner’s Road.

These moments can be a thought, a conversation, an activity…anything that creates a connection that lights up your mind, what I describe as mind-sparks.

Because I choose to search, and I choose the rules of engagement, I am never disappointed.

The Secret Sauce

The thoughts shared by others that spark a connection within the listener can become a reference point, an inference that activates a cascade of creativity. If, that is, you are aware of what is transpiring.

Creativity is the ability to combine two seemingly unrelated ideas together in a unique way. 

Consider it like this- every musical note has already been invented and well used, but not every combination has already been combined. That’s why we are delighted with fresh, new music.

A composer is the ultimate rebel. In the mind of the composer, there exists a space where nothing is taboo…there are no rules that the composer must accept. The songwriter draws inspiration from whatever source she or he chooses. It is within that space in their mind that unlikely combos blend with what only this composer can provide. It’s their secret sauce – their unique flavor that we love to savor.

May you taste your words before you spit them out.

Irish Proverb

The mind-spark you receive has the potential to activate a cascade of creativity within you. It lights up a part of the mind that we access when we receive inspiration. It leads you to savor their flavor…and generate new combos that don’t harm you if you super-size them. 

You are the catalyst! Without you, these two seemingly unrelated ideas will taste the same as their originator…being original to them, but not to you, when they come out of your mouth.

This is why great artists are both divergent and defiant. They choose to savor the flavor of their own designs, not yours or mine.

Highly creative people know where to find the gold… where to find something coloured beautiful.

One of the key distinguishers of highly creative people is the ability to acknowledge and celebrate every little win. This aspect of high creativity is not contingent upon their talent, or secret sauce, or novel ideas. This is an aspect of high performance that drives the creator to create…to keep returning to their creative space with the regularity that is needed to get things done.

As a teenager and young adult, I often had what I’d playfully describe as flashes of brilliance. These were moments of inspiration that lit up my mind and wrapped my thoughts in such beauty that they rocked my world. Naturally, I wanted to have more of these experiences but soon became frustrated because I couldn’t replicate them. I would get distracted and lose the beautiful thought, leaving me feeling deeply disappointed. If I didn’t write it down as soon as the idea came to me, it slipped away. I couldn’t hold my focus for the extended period that it took to savor the flavor of a delicious thought – that fleeting feeling of abundance that accompanied the mind-spark. After a while, I gave up on trying to sustain this feeling and welcomed its random gifts when they came along.

However, these flashes of brilliance, of brilliant light, created a strobe-like effect…offering me tantalizing glimpses of a world that, it seemed, I had received an invitation to but, when I arrived, I couldn’t find the door.

As I looked around me, I realized that one of the key distinguishers of highly creative, prolific people like Stephen King and Margaret Atwood, is their ability to remain in their creative space for sustained, extended periods. It seemed like they had a secret code of conduct that allowed them to write every darn day with regularity and to see their well-crafted works to completion.

It seemed impossible for me, but, contrarian that I am, I set out to test my impossible. Intriguing and frustrating as it was, I was determined to crack the code. 

That’s when I realized that it’s possible to create the conditions that sustain a creative mind. This activates the precursor to the flow of ideas and feelings which is the creative process. Basically, you set the conditions for flow to happen by setting up your physical space as a creative space and entering it regularly. Could it be just that simple?

It stands to reason that if you are living in a world of distractions you will be distracted by the world. My first and most significant act of creation began by creating my Sanctuary. In this space, I could become a conscious creator, the kind who doesn’t rely on random invitations, like flashes of brilliance, but as a deliberate master of this domain, because a master knows how to step inside that world and stay for as long as they choose.

Winner’s Road

Sometimes wins come easy. Sometimes wins come through sustained effort.

The key is to celebrate every small movement of the needle. This is an exercise in personal power because you are, once again, setting the rules of engagement, as well as what constitutes a win for you.

To walk on Winner’s Road you must appreciate the road. It is vital to understand that the journey is what leads you to the destination. I used to have it backward. If you don’t appreciate the process you will soon tire of it and become discouraged. You may even give up.

The road to your dream’s demise is paved by regret. Don’t let the cemetery be the repository of your dreams.

Instead of thinking of the road to winning, where those who aspire to win run as fast as they can to beat others to a static destination, consider it as the road of winners, where winners walk.

The Winner’s Road is where you belong, because you’ve claimed your space and the right to walk this road.

Any day that you stick to the road, consider this a win. You cannot win it if you’re not in it. Distractions will bombard you with relentless regularity, so it is wise to be prepared. That’s where your daily practices come into play. Setting your day up for success begins with what I describe as your Hour of Power Moves, where you deliberately set the conditions for success.

Approach the day with the 4F’s in mind: Fearless faith, focus, and fortitude.

Fearless, because when you practice doing what you fear you will begin to fear it less and less.

Faith, in your personal resourcefulness…your ability to access the Wellspring of Inspiration at will.

Focus, advancing towards your goal in common hours, as Thoreau composed it, with your eyes on the prize.

Fortitude, is the understanding that sustained effort will lead you to make the gains that lead to success. You become like an endurance athlete, applying the relentless effort required to keep you on Winner’s Road.

Any day that you are still committed to traveling this road is a win. Even days that you simply maintain your stride and don’t fall back is a win that must be celebrated.

Walk This Way

You set the conditions for winning. In this space, no distractions are allowed. You compose the conditions, you say what’s a win for you and nobody else has a say in the matter. Setting the conditions sets you up to be discerning. Because you choose to walk this way, by default you will choose to associate with people who walk this way as well. It’s not by the association with this crew (that they allow you to hang with them) but that you actually walk with this crew, that you do the deeds that they do…that’s what’s important.

People like us do things like this, says marketing guru and author, Seth Godin. We can expand on this thought and make it personal:

People like me say and do things like this…

No Dictators Allowed

This is an exercise in personal autonomy because you are setting the rules of engagement, and deciding on what constitutes a win for you.

A win doesn’t have to be what someone else says it is – there are no dictators on Winner’s Road – you accept no dictates from the powers that be or the prevailing thought systems. As an autonomous individual, you choose the conditions and accept nothing less than your authentic best.

Comparison Kills

Like a human-sized spider’s web, comparison traps you. It kills dreams, projects, and degrades lives. It trashes your uniqueness and trivializes your personal perspective. If you often compare yourself to others, you’ve been compared to others and were found inferior. As a result, you are afraid of it and seek to avoid and distract yourself from this feeling. I know this feeling well!

Conversely, you may have been compared to others and found to be superior…elite. Now, you fear not having it and crave to sustain this feeling.

Feelings of inferiority and superiority are different aspects of the comparison trap, because both put you at the mercy of your fear.

It’s not a win on your terms, but on theirs…whoever the heck they are.

The Ultimate Loser

How often do you feel like a loser?

Consider your relationship with failure. Everyone has one. This also applies to your relationship with winning.

If we were to consider this as being like any other relationship in life, authenticity in our relationships is a vital component for success. It does not pay to be clingy, needy, demanding, or manipulative. With any authentic relationship, you cannot become a hacker or a poser, because you will get called out. The relationship will ultimately fail.

The ultimate loss is the one that ruins your relationship with yourself.

Valuing the steps you take to achieve your goals becomes your excellence and your reputation. The steps are what you are all about, not the results of the steps. Results come and go.

We win sometimes. We lose sometimes. But…when we learn from every loss, we win. Every time.

To walk on Winner’s Road you must contribute the ultimate investment – you must commit fully to your success. This means not letting yourself get derailed, to get distracted by something that trips you up and you fall into the thorns, weeds, and dog crap along the side of the road.

It means being invested in where you place your feet. Each step matters as much as the last one. This doesn’t mean that you won’t fail, but it does mean that you are prepared, as best you can, to fail forward. That’s a win in my book.

Winners do the things that losers refuse to do.

Losers refuse to embrace the difficult steps that it takes to get to where they wish to go. Losers refuse to consider any alternative other than a specific result. Losers won’t risk the bird in the hand, even though there may be a whole darn flock right around the next bend on Winner’s Road.

Winners value and celebrate every little thing, because they know they are on the right track. Winners understand that each small step leads to significant results. Winners accept that as they move along Winner’s Road the end result will change.

This, or something better, is the motto of those who travel on Winner’s Road.

And that is what has made all the difference.

Originally Published on

Paula D. Tozer is the author of three books - Saving Your Own Life: Learning to Live Like You Are Dying; An Elegant Mind's Handbook, and Enchanting Treve, a Novel. She is also an actor, singer/songwriter, Creativity Coach, competitive speaker, and leader with Toastmasters, as well as an avid cyclist, hiker, gym rat, and critter lover. The vast majority of her accomplishments have been achieved after the age of 50, demonstrating that It is never too late to be what you truly could have been...

Paula believes that living fiercely at any age is the way to optimize our time on this side of the grass. She has taken up the mission to inspire and motivate her contemporaries with what she has found that has allowed her to age with elegance, vitality, and most of all, good humor!

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