to date, Super Bowl LI, a historic game was witnessed by all, and
the “art of winning” was on display in its most compelling form.
Regardless of who you were rooting for, Atlanta or New England,
the team that knew “how to win” did in the end win.
While watching the game, it became evident to me that no
single, big play decisively changed the outcome or tipped the
scales of victory. What I saw was players who practice winning and
have made it part of their everyday routine simply make play after
play until the win was achieved. They did not just decide once
they were losing 3-28 to just go win. They relied on what they
had done multiple times in the past, to merely do what they had
trained their minds to do—win—and the winning outcome took
care of itself. Not surprisingly, they traversed the edge deliberately
This leads me to a very important crossover point. In this team
sport of firefighting, we cannot win alone. It’s necessary that all—
individuals, crews, and organizations—share the same winning
attitude; otherwise, it spells trouble and probably death for an
Yes, if you are by yourself in a deadly ordeal, you will have only
yourself to depend on, but the chances of being self-deployed, I
would predict, are less than 50/50. More likely, you will be paired
with another firefighter in accomplishing an assignment, and it
will be in this circumstance where you will probably find yourselves facing a life-threatening moment. You both better share that
same “win at all cost” determination.
Let’s face it, firefighters are selfless individuals who, to their
glory, will not leave a fellow teammate behind, even if it’s to
their demise. If one firefighter believes he will win but the other
believes that he will die, then the two will move slower and lose
valuable time, handicapping their chances of succeeding. When
minutes are of the utmost usefulness, the firefighter who has
the winner’s attitude will spend priceless seconds, and associated
breathing air, trying to “rally the troops” toward a mighty achieve-
ment. This is an unaffordable waste of resources at a time when
they are costly. You as an individual and your crew as a whole owe
each other the dignity of developing the winning attitude prior to
facing that do-or-die edge.
WE CAN’T ALL WEAR GREEN BERETS
Lastly, creating a winning attitude toward a life-and-death
calamity is not reserved solely for those who have previously stood
at death’s doorstep. The ability to transcend “The Winner’s Edge”
can be developed and sustained in everyone through a combination of personal experiences that test the individual’s inner resolve
against his internal capabilities. In other words, you don’t have to
have battled in Fallujah or participated in what I would classify as
a Green Beret feat of heroism to groom your survivor mentality.
Accordingly, because winning does not happen without purposeful
fortitude, we can all activate that winner’s makeup.
Maybe your “Goliath” was cancer, or divorce, or paralysis, or
poverty, or pain. Sling those same stones of grit and willpower used
to overcome each prior enormous trial and unite this confident
energy into all upcoming life-and-death encounters. You can and
WILL survive when it counts. Although there can be countless circumstances that may push you to the edge, there is but one secret
Surviving a life-and-death disaster requires blatant recognition of the “edge” you are standing on.