BE A WINNER. Eric Patton (April 30, 2004)

Would you like to have more self confidence? Would you like to meet someone new and interesting right now? Would you like to have more time? Would you like to feel more secure? Do you have sexual fantasies you’d like to have fulfilled before you die?

You can have all these things. It’s not a gimmick. And I’m not trying to sell you anything. But you’re not going to have any of these things – or at least, they all become much less likely – as long as we live in the world we do now.

Existing social structures like capitalism beat people down. The political system doesn’t engage people’s minds or hearts. The nuclear family as an absolute is tremendously stifling. People want and deserve more. Don’t you?

If you don’t feel too fat, too skinny, not pretty enough, not manly enough, or like your boobs or your cock aren’t big enough, it’s going to be very difficult for companies to sell you things. If you can already meet people for fantastic sexual experiences, then you don’t really need to buy that bottle of Bud Light, do you? If you’re not lonely, then you don’t really need to call that personals line, try that personals board, or buy that shirt so you look “cool.”

If you have some say over the hours that you work, then you have more time to spend with your family, or just by yourself. Or trying to meet others. Or actually meeting others for sex, love, or maybe just throwing darts. If you are remunerated fairly for the effort and sacrifice your job requires of you, then you will be paid fairly and no one will have more or less unless they deserve it. And if everyone does their fair share of empowering work, like taking part in making investment decisions at their firm, versus disempowering work, like answering phones or cleaning toilets, then we all develop confidence in ourselves as well as respect for one another.

Sound impossible? Well, it absolutely is impossible … unless we dedicate ourselves to it fully, then work to bring it about. See, most of us think that change starts outside ourselves. We wait for things to happen. We believe we can’t make a difference, or that nothing we want can ever happen anyway.

I’m here to tell you that that’s true. You can have anything you want, and do anything you want, in an instant. You just have to change yourself, and your approach. You have to develop a sense of certainty about what you want and about where you’re going. You have to commit yourself to first place. If you commit to second place, or if you settle for second place, then second place is exactly where you’re going to end up!

What do you really want, both for the world as well as your own life? You do know what you want, right? You have to! If you don’t know what you want, how do you hope to achieve anything? It’s not enough to dabble in decision making. That won’t give you power or self confidence. It won’t accomplish anything, either for the world or for your own life.

The first step is deciding what it is you truly want. You’re going to be somewhere in ten years. Not just as a movement, but individually as well. Where will that be? You have to decide now what you want to achieve in ten years, because the decisions you make today affect the results you get tomorrow.

It’s not enough to say, “I want to stop the Iraq war.” What kind of society will it take to stop the next war? Then start building that society now.

It’s not enough to say, “I wish Israel would stop killing Palestinians.” What kind of society will it take to stop the United States from supporting Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people? Then start building that now.

It’s not enough to say, “I’m lonely. I wish it were easier to meet people.” Or, “I wish people weren’t judged so much on looks.” Or, “God, I’m really horny right now. I wish it were easier to get laid.” What kind of society would it take for all these things to happen tomorrow? And what kind of actions can you take to make it easier for you today? Decide, then start working for those things.

All change starts within ourselves. Whether we’re changing the world or changing ourselves, it starts inside. But you first must know what it is that you want. You must have a direction. You must have goals. If you have no goals, then you will surely attain them!

If I sound like a Tony Robbins infomercial, well good. Frankly, I think every single person reading this should run right now and go buy Awaken the Giant Within. I think lefties don’t play to win. I think lefties don’t aim for first place. And if you’re building movements with anything other than first place in mind, there’s about a 100% chance that that’s how you live your life as well when you’re not engaged in movement building.

Winners never settle for second place. And winners always have goals. Would you like to be a winner? I don’t just mean in overthrowing capitalism or bullshit like that. I mean in your own life – would you like to be a winner?!

Of course, overthrowing capitalism is not bullshit. It’s arguably the single most important thing as a movement we can do, when you consider that markets (as a method of resource allocation) are probably the single worst human creation of all time, responsible for more deaths than anything in the history of the world – and I’m not just talking human deaths, though that is certainly true as well!

What I mean is this: You will never overthrow capitalism unless you first overthrow your own limiting beliefs. This is not bullshit! It’s your own life, how you live it, what makes you happy, and what you’re able to ultimately accomplish. Changing yourself, or changing the world, starts inside you.

And you can do it. You absolutely beyond any shadow of a doubt can do it. You can do more than just tread water. You can do more than just survive. You can do more than just win temporary or small gains – not just in the world, but in your own life as well! In fact, it must start in your own life.

But you can absolutely do it. You have amazing power inside of you. You have incredible resources at your disposal. Imagine, a left community of people full of unlimited power, using their awesome force to change themselves as well as the world! Can you imagine how powerful such a movement would be? Can you imagine how many people we would attract? We wouldn’t just be a movement. We wouldn’t just be a “left community” or “left movement” – we’d be the entire world!

That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to build and be the entire world. Not just a few million people, or a few billion, but the entire world! And what does the entire world want and need more than anything?

Look in the mirror. The entire world wants and needs the same things you do. Time. Security. Love. Belonging. Sex. Hope. A future. A present. Not necessarily in that order, or any other order. We need all those things simultaneously!

The first step, though, is changing ourselves.