4th Quarter Mindset – Play to Win: Avoid Playing to Not Lose

“I play to win.” – Michael Jordan

Hi Everyone, it’s been a minute since I’ve brought you the Warrior Wisdom Wednesday Blog Post. Sometimes despite all your best efforts and strong intentions, life happens and you find yourself in the 4th Quarter trailing by… well, a lot.

Just because that’s my 2022 story doesn’t mean it is going to end there.

Trailing in the 4th Quarter inspired me to start a series for you entitled,

4th Quarter Mindset: Play to Win.

In this blog post, I will be exposing a detrimental mindset many people use when they find themselves behind late in the game but still desperately want to win.

I will also show how to reverse this mindset and Play to Win.


The defeating mindset I’m talking about is playing NOT TO LOSE.

In this scenario, your mind tells you to play it safe, to be careful, to tread lightly. This mindset is not playing to win; it is actually playing NOT TO LOSE.

What does it mean to play NOT TO LOSE?

Playing NOT TO LOSE comes from an avoidance-based mindset. You don’t want to win; you want to NOT LOSE.

Avoidance Mindset

Avoidance goals move you away from something; you are suffering from a problem and want to dodge it and avoid pain.

Research shows that avoidance-oriented goals have a higher failure rate than approach-oriented goals and are associated with poor well-being.

Playing NOT TO LOSE comes from a fear-based mindset. You are timid, you question yourself, and you doubt your skills and abilities. Nothing feels in synch, you react versus respond.

This mindset does not allow you to be proactive; you lose all confidence in yourself and your abilities.

Playing NOT TO LOSE is a destructive mindset and usually ends in failure.

So what’s the antidote?

Play to Win

People who play to win have solid approach-based goals in place. Approach goals move you towards something. They are very motivating and research shows they have more positive outcomes than their counterpart; avoidance goals.

From a confidence standpoint, playing to win is the polar opposite of playing NOT TO LOSE. Individuals and teams who play to win trust themselves; they trust their plan, the process, and the work they’ve put in.

They are proactive, authoritative, and confident.

3 Strategies to Play to Win

  1. Develop an Approach Mindset

Recognize when you are operating out of an avoidance or fear-based mindset. Press pause and switch lanes to an approach mode. Listening to your self-talk will help you realize what mindset you are in.

If you find yourself saying things like:

  • “I want to lose weight so that I don’t get diabetes or heart disease.”
  • “I need to hit my end-of-the-year goals or I’ll lose my commission.”

These are examples of an avoidance mindset.

Reframe your talk to an approach mode. Saying something like:

  • “I want to lose weight because I will feel lighter; I will be able to fit into the clothes I want. I will have more energy.”
  • “I may be behind with my goals but this allows me to be creative and find a way to get this done.”

Know the distinct differences between the two mindsets:

Approach Goals move you towards something; they have more positive outcomes and are very motivating.

Avoidance Goals move you away from something; you are avoiding something unpleasant, and this type of mindset is associated with poor well-being and research shows it decreases your chances of achieving your goals.

2. Use Your Appropriate Intellectual Faculties

We have 6 Powerful Tools, better known as the higher faculties of the mind that help us achieve success in life. They are:



When people find themselves behind in the 4th Quarter, they tend to default to two faculties that are not the most optimal 4th Quarter Mindsets. These are reasoning and memory.

4th Quarter Mistake #1: Reasoning

Most people set goals based on their current belief system. If your belief system guides your logic, and your logic drives your reasoning, you will set goals based on your current reasoning.     If you set goals based on your current reasoning, it’s highly doubtful that you will attain anything beyond what you have already currently attained.

4th Quarter Mistake #2: Memory

Another mistake people commonly make when they find themselves trailing in the 4th Quarter is to set goals based on memory or their past experiences. If they have fallen short of achieving their goals in the past, they are likely to get discouraged and quit. Thus memory is not an optimal faculty to use when setting goals.

Two Intellectual Faculties to Use in the 4th Quarter

The two most appropriate intellectual faculties to help you come from behind in the 4th Quarter are your imagination and your intuition.


Imagination is probably the most powerful of all the faculties. Nothing has ever been created that was not first imagined. The magical ability of imagination is inside everyone. It helps us “see” future possibilities in images and mental pictures.  Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, and the Wright brothers are great examples of people who used this faculty to create things they had only seen in their mind’s eye.

When you incorporate your imagination to envision the future of what you DO want. Now you have created a pathway to what you want rather than what you don’t


Oftentimes, when trailing in the 4th Quarter, we overthink things, we get anxious, and we worry. Tapping into your intuition will automatically switch your focus from rumination to a healthier perspective from your inner wisdom.

Intuition is your inner wisdom – your inner knowing. Although many people confuse intuition with a 6th sense, it is one of your 6 mental faculties. It is that gut feeling you get that is trying to tell you something. It’s the ability to understand a situation or thought instinctively.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

Few people realize the power of perceived control.

Perceived Control refers to an individual’s perception of his or her ability, resource, or opportunity to bring about desired outcomes and prevent undesirable ones.

Simply stated, Perceived Control is your perception of the control you have.

According to the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 50 Years of research shows that Perceived Control is an important construct of physical health and psychological well-being. When people feel they can exert control, they demonstrate better:

  • Immune responses,
  • Cardiovascular functioning
  • Physical strength,

The report showed people also had:

  • Increased longevity
  • Increased life satisfaction
  • Decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Focusing on what you can control builds perceived control and this is a game-changing strategy to win.

Moral of the story; when you exercise perceived control, you not only enhance your well-being, you are more confident, and actually play to win.

Winning in Life

 2022 has given me many unforeseen hits. Thankfully, years of coaching people and training others in resilience has given me tools to help me keep my head in the game; regardless of what I feel or how deep I fall. Thank God, I can get up and continue to Play to Win; not just this year, but in life.

Where are you in 2022?

Take it from someone who is behind in the 4th Quarter, you’ll never achieve greatness by playing NOT TO LOSE.

Regardless of where you are in this calendar year or life, implementing the strategies of playing to win will reignite your passion and intensity, help you achieve your goals, and most importantly build your warrior mindset.

Be Transformed,


Always remember – Nothing is Impossible

Crisis Kit

I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.

Rita Hudgens
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