Further Thoughts on “Winning Isn’t Normal” (Vlog)

It’s been exactly two months since I published “Winning Isn’t Normal“. I typically get around 100-150 people coming to the site on any given day. (You can see my stats from 2010 for more on this) and when I have a post hit Hacker News, that number can go up to 1-3 thousand. But for whatever reason, over 10,000 people came to my site (many from HN) to read “Winning Isn’t Normal”. It’s by the far the most popular post I’ve ever written and I’m honored that so many people took the time to engage with my work.

I got a lot of feedback from the post (both good and bad) and wanted to share some more thoughts I’ve had on the post. I also wanted to try responding with a video rather than just another blog post .. you know, to mix things up a bit. So let me know what you think about the video in the comments – and I hope you enjoy!

Further Thoughts on Winning Isn’t Normal (youtube.com)

The Original Article: Winning Isn’t Normal
The Hacker News Discussion: HN Comments
The Rumi Quote: “The lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared to the lion who overcomes himself” ~ Mevlana Rumi quotes from Rumi Daylight: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance
Keith Bell Quote: “Remember one thing… winning isn’t normal. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with winning. It just isn’t the norm. It is highly unusual … So it requires unusual action. In order to win, you must do extraordinary things.”
Sebastian Marshall header: SebastianMarshall.com: Strategy, Philosophy, Self-Discipline, Science. Victory.


Related Posts:

Entrepreneur, writer, and athlete. #gohardorgohome More here.


Hey Jason,

I really enjoyed the video. Thanks for making + sharing it.

jasonshen moderator

I wanted to share a comment someone left on the youtube video as well. This is by "furorimpius":

i love it. i think this philosophy could be adapted to other goals besides "winning". lots of things aren't "normal" and it takes extra-normal effort to achieve them:
living a fulfilling life
maintaining a loving marriage
being happy
it all depends on what's important to you.


I recently finished reading: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. A concept it covered was internalizing of goals. Stoics believe that all life events can be divided into three areas: things you can control, things you can't control and things you have partial control. They believe you should totally forget things you can't control and only concern yourself with things you can control. In terms of things you have some control, they believe you should internalize the goal. So like in a race instead of saying, I want to be first, focus on the part of the goal you can control like I want to get up at 6am and run for 40mins. They believe taking such an approach to achieving goals will achieve tranquility, since the outcome is completely depend on you and not external factors such as your competition.

I think this is a better approach because it promise something for the N-1 people who didn't make it to the top.


@jasonshen Thanks, Jason. It's doing a bunch better and it looks like I'll hit my target.

jasonshen moderator

@kaisdavis Thanks Kai! Just read a bunch of your blog posts. Hope you're stomach is feeling better and the slow carb diet keeps working for you!

jasonshen moderator

@chegra Thanks. Yeah - focusing on performance rather than outcome goals is important. "I will make this many sales calls." "I will put at least 2 hours into this bug fix" allows you to win victories that don't necessarily involve other people. That's part of what I meant when I said "winning the personal battle". Thanks dude!


  1. […] EDIT 2: I produced a video post that followed up with further thoughts and reflections on the content in and response to this post. Check it out here. […]

Next ArticleUse This Navy SEAL Technique to Virtually Guarantee Victory