What does it mean to win? At GIIS, we encourage our students to follow excellence in all that they do, whether in the classroom or on the sports courts. In order to do this, we believe we need to clearly define what it means to win. What is "winning?" Is it simply a successful score or winning a tough game? Can you "win" without being the top at what you do? We would like to take a closer look at what winning means and how it can be attained.
The Spirit of Winning - It's Not a Score
Here at GIIS, we believe that winning is closely tied to finding your own sense of fulfillment and success. It is not about performing better than others, but rather performing to your own highest abilities. In the book Run or Die, Kilian Jornet put it this way:
"Winning isn't about finishing in first place. It isn't about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality."
Unfortunately, all too often schoolwork is focused almost entirely on achievement and coming out "on top" of others. When a student achieves above and beyond the class, they succeed. At GIIS, we try to challenge that and make success something highly personal, focusing on achievement as well as other measures. We encourage our students to strive to surpass their own past achievements, not the achievements of others, taking control of their own success in a highly personal way. In this model, winning depends on the individual alone, not the actions of others.
A Closer Look at High Achievers
In order to determine how we can cultivate an attitude of winning in our students, we took the time to look at what other high achievers had in their lives. Harvard Business School professor Howard H. Stevenson did the same thing. When presenting his study to alumni in a talk entitled "Enduring Success," he indicated that successful people he interviewed had a "landscape of satisfaction."
What does this mean? According to Stevenson, successful people seize opportunities when presented with them, live life without many regrets and are satisfied with what they see in their lives. At GIIS, we strive to create a dynamic environment on our campuses that allows our students to embrace this "landscape of satisfaction," so they can be successful.
This dynamic environment constantly provides students with opportunities which they can embrace to achieve success and satisfaction. Whether on the sports field, in the classroom or preparing for a project, our students learn tenacity and fortitude, and we believe this makes them winners.
Winning at GIIS
At GIIS, we have challenged the conventional idea that views "winning" as an outcome of competition. Instead of encouraging our students to compete against one another, we encourage our students to push themselves towards individual goals. When a student sets a goal and pushes through obstacles to attain that goal, then the student has "won." In this way the spirit of winning becomes highly personal, with the focus on the individual and not the group. When winning is personal, it is possible for all students to become winners.
At GIIS, our goal is to help each student become a high achiever. Through our project-based instructional model and award-winning 9 GEMS framework, we provide our students with multiple opportunities to practice setting goals and pushing through to reach them. In this way, we help our students to be happy and successful, not just in academics, but also in life. By redefining what winning means, we believe we can provide a better outcome for our students, both now and in the future.