Mindset: The Difference Between Spectators and Players

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I was exercising at the beach with my wife recently, and a lady walked by and said, “That makes me tired just watching you.” A few weeks earlier I was talking to a friend, who was watching an elite athlete train and he said, “That makes me better, just watching him.”

The difference in the two attitudes is striking to me. One saw someone training and it made her tired. The other saw someone training and it made him inspired. I realized it is the different between a spectator and a player…between a watcher and a winner. Some people see greatness and think about how hard it would be.

Winners see greatness and are inspired to take action and elevate their own greatness. Which mindset do you have in life?


Hi There! it’s Kevin Ward. I was just on the beach today working out with my wife. We were running along the beach, and there was a lady that was walking toward us. Pretty sure she doesn’t exercise very much. She was walking along on the sidewalk. One of the things I do, because I’ve been exercising and training a lot harder than Julie, so when we’re doing our stuff and she’s jogging, I’ll then sprint ahead and run as fast as I can and just get my heart rate up. Since I’m doing some different things than she’s doing.

So, as I was walking along with Julie and we were resting, I said, “Okay, I’m going to sprint. I’ll be back in a minute.” So I’m sprinting along, and this other lady’s walking by. As I’m sprinting by her, she’s looking at me. She’s shaking her head and smiling real big, and she says, “You’re making me tired just watching you.”

You’re making me tired just watching you. I just thought about that, and I’m like, that’s an interesting perspective. Because a few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who is a competitive athlete, I mean, like, an elite athlete. We were talking about watching other players, other people who are better than you or the best in the world, watching them on YouTube or on video. As we’re talking about it, he said, “I enjoy watching them, the best in the world perform.” He says, “Because when I watch them, I get better just watching them.”

I was just thinking about the two different conversations, thinking about the two different attitudes that the lady that I passed today had, compared to the attitude of my friend, one looks at somebody who’s exerting themselves and going all out and says, “Oh, I get tired just watching that,” and another one looks at somebody who’s going all out and doing it, and they go, “I get better by watching it.”

Here’s the difference. The difference is how you view life. Do you view life as a spectator, or do you view life as a winner, as a competitor, as a player. Because, see, the world is full of people who basically are spectators. In fact, if you, one of the things that’s interesting to me about television, for example, watching sports on television, is watching sports on television is not designed for players. All the programming, when you watch ESPN and all of that, it’s designed for spectators. It’s not designed for players. The players can’t relate to that, because players don’t think like spectators think.

Players look at something and they go, “Wow, I wish I could do that.” A player looks at it and goes, “Wow, I’m going to learn how to do that.” A spectator looks at somebody who’s giving 100% and goes, “Oh, I get tired just watching that.” A player looks at that and goes, “I get inspired by watching that.”

I want you just to think about it. To me, this is a mindset issues. I think, I believe, in fact I’m going to say that I know, that your mindset, the conversations that we have with ourselves every day, the conversations we have with others, when we see something and we go like, “Oh, that looks so hard,” is so different than going, “Wow, that looks awesome. I know that’s going to be hard, but wow, imagine being able to do that.” How different a perspective it is between a spectator and a player. A spectator looks at it and goes, “Oh, that’s too hard.” A player looks at it and goes, “What do I have to do to learn how to do that? What would I have to do to become like that, because I’m going do that?”

Are you a player, or are you a spectator? It starts here. It starts in the mindset. The mindset of people who achieve. The mindset of people who achieve their goals, who achieve greatness, who do great things and make a big difference is totally different than the mindset of those who just watch and look at other people doing it and go, “But I could never do that because, well, it’s just too hard. Well, I don’t have what it takes. I’m not smart enough, young enough, fast enough, skilled enough.” Whatever.

Spectator or winner? You decide. What are you going to be? It starts here. Then when you get clear, “I’m a player,” then you go at it every day with that view of life, you’re going to figure out how to win. You’re going to see other people who are playing and winning, and instead of looking at them and judging them, or looking at them and dismissing them, you’re going to look at them and go, “That inspires me. I’m going to become better. Just by watching them I’m going to raise my game.”

Raise your game. Play to win. Commit to be a player, not a spectator, because it’s your life.

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