Let Up and Lose

For Christmas in 1975, our grandparents gave all three of us kids a ping pong table.  I was 9, my brother, Jeff, was 16.  And our sister, Wendy, didn’t care. 

Jeff and I did.  We played ping pong all the time, and we got pretty good at it.  We constantly swapped victories and sharpened each other along the way. I also had some friends who were pretty good players, but not quite at my brother’s level.   In fact, while attending college, Jeff won the school ping pong tournament. 

Jeff is a nice, compassionate and caring person. But not in the midst of ping pong play, especially with me. Let me share what differentiated most of our games.  When Jeff won, it was either because he was just better in that match, or…I let up and lost.  He never let up, particularly when he was winning. Something I had to learn. 

Picture the scene: I’m winning pretty big, maybe 16-8 in a game to 21. I have to admit my competitive beast mode usually let up around this time because I started feeling sorry for him.  Big mistake. Jeff never let up and smelled blood when I did.  He often won those matches.  

And when Jeff was destroying me, did he let up on me? Nope. Didn’t he care? Where was the compassion for his brother’s miserable performance? Not there.  

I’m older now, and I don’t let up. Never. He taught me that. 

There are many ways to apply this thought process. Maybe sales: great results usually lead to less prospecting because we let up. That leads to poor results. And so goes the cycle. Don’t’ let up. As my friend and mentor used to say, “You are either growing or dying; there is no coasting in life.” 

If I can take anything away from those matches with Jeff 35 years ago, it’s this: 

When you’re winning, press harder. 

Let up and you lose.