What are you running from?

Keystone strategies to success 


The term keystone comes from the very old architectural building practice of using a specially shaped stone, a “key-stone”, to make an arch. (You have probably seen these stones in arches in older buildings). This was fundamental to changes in architectural evolution, design and construction. It allowed for the production of arches and curves in buildings. It really opened the door to new designs and forms.

“The keystone was the most important stone that all others were dependent on and build upon!

Everything else depended on getting it right.”

 keystone bricks


If you didn’t see it, the last post was on “Are you playing to win or playing not to lose?” This playing to win mindset is the keystone in your overall well being. And it’s this keystone mindset that is the foundational principle on how to have true success, happiness and fulfillment in your life.

If you missed it go here and read that last post now before you read on.

You really need to understand and recognize this pattern in your behaviour. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed it may be because you are subconsciously playing to lose, not playing to win. This prevents you from living up to your true, full potential. You will have a sense of dissatisfaction with your current state in life as you have to take what life hands you, instead of being proactive and choosing what you want.

This post will build upon this keystone mindset, which, allows you to get more of the wonderful joys life has to offer.

Let now look at how you can start to set yourself up to win more often and build this playing to win mindset. To do this we need to look at some of the motivators of your behaviour. They will tell us about how you are thinking and playing!

So today’s focus is on motivators in your life. You may know this as the carrot and the stick. The question is that of “what are you running from or running to?

carrot and stick image


This idea of what are you running from (fear- aka the stick) vs what are you running to (goal-aka carrot) is important to get more of what you want in life and it relates to the key concept of playing to win not playing to lose. What are your fears? Have you really brought them out into the light and examined them? They may not seem so bad once you shine lite on them. This applies to worries and doubt as well. Have you really examined on how they are holding you back and shaping your life in a negative way?

The playing not to lose mindset can start shaping your behaviour slowly over time, so you don’t even know it,

  • You lose your ability to get what you want.
  • You stop chasing your dreams.
  • You get a deeper sense of incompleteness.
  • You feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied with your life.
  • Frustration and apathy develops.
  • Instead of going after what you want you get what others impose on you.

As the old saying goes…

“if you don’t know what you want, you will fall for anything!”


You should always be running to something. Translation: you should be moving towards goals that motivate and excite you.

  • You should have a vision of what you want in all areas of your life.
  • You should also have goals with action steps to get you there.
  • You are then “pulled” by your goals.
  • You are driven by motivation and the positive.
  • This gives you flexibility and
  • it helps develop your “choosing muscle”.
  • This is easy to do and has a profound effect on your psychology and subconscious motivation.


Fear image



Fear and worry can limit your forward progression. One way to reduce fear (False Expectations that Appear Real) is by building confidence and exerting your ability to choose.

You can build confidence by set small tasks for your self and completing them. The list of small things you can do is endless: install new software on your computer, hang a picture, repair a leaky tap, getting up when you say you will etc. This builds self trust and personal confidence. The idea is to set goals that you know you can achieve. Then build the difficultly of the tasks as you confidence and skill grows.


Building you choosing muscle is a great way to get more happiness and satisfaction in your life. You may have one of those times when someone asks “where do you want to eat?”  Instead of saying it doesn’t matter decide and commit to your choice. Even if it really doesn’t matter, choose one. Exert your will to get what you want.

Long term this is going to allow you to get more in touch with what you really want and thus you will be moving more closely in the direction you want. This means more satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness with less stress in your life.


Now, remember to temper this choosing attribute with the play to win characteristic of “flexibility”.  Choosing to let someone else have a go at deciding and getting their way is still exerting your ability to choose (you are choosing to be flexible). And hey, we don’t always get our own way so lets be realistic. And it feels good to see others happy as well!


I know this all sounds really simple, too simple, to actually make a difference but that’s the power of choice. It helps build one facet of the playing to win mindset. We will look at some of the others for the next few posts. For now here are some action steps to help you move forward.



  • Be more conscious about exerting your ability to choose. Choose more often. Work your choosing muscle.
  • Be flexible. Choose to help others and share the option of letting them choosing.
  • Build self trust- Write out lists of things you know you are going to complete. Mark them off once done. Celebrate once you complete them with a high five or a fist pump as you say “YES”.
  • Build your skill and confidence. Then make your list of slightly more challenging tasks and complete them
  • Write your next chapter- do the Be-Do-Have exercise (its fun and stimulating). Click here to do it…
  • Be more optimistic- start looking for the good and the positives about situations and people (squash the worry and doubt)


Dissolving the mindset of playing to lose is not easy. Generally it doesn’t happen in a flash. It takes time. You have to learn to see this behaviour in yourself and others. You need to take control of your life and start applying small mindset changes such as choosing more often, being more flexible and building your skills, self-confidence and self-worth. You need to invest in “self-care”. This builds self-trust and helps generate the mindset of playing to win.


Don’t fool yourself. Changing this mindset is not as simple as memorizing a list and reading it a few times. You have to apply these concepts day in and day out until they become part of you. You then don’t think about them they are just part of you. You’ve mastered them, grown and you can now handle bigger problems which we will call “challenges”.  No one likes problems but I think we like a good challenge.


This is where life starts to get really exciting as you are controlling your future and you are choosing how it will unfold. You get to write the next chapter of your life and live into it. If you aren’t happy with where you are at right now, draw a line in the sand and end the chapter. Start a new chapter and write how you want life to unfold for yourself. How cool is that!

I will share more simple and easy to do steps on how to generate the play to win mindset next time.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the revised and updated sections in the Ultimate Stress Reduction Program now make this a wonderful and highly empowering training program. Invest in yourself… you’re worth it. You can go check it out here…


Best of health and spirits,

Robert Ridpath

Robs Headshot 3-sm