Why does it feel good to win?

I’ve been pondering about the question, “why does it feel good to win” for sometime. I still don’t get it.

Why is it that “sometimes the only way to make yourself feel good is to make others feel bad” - Homer Simpson

How does insulting someone increase one’s sense of selfworth? Is it because people see one another as threats, and by neutralising threats, “one feels good”.

There is a lot of research on this. The easiest thing to look for is gambling, since people lose more than they win but they still go after winning. The situation with making fun of someone is different though… that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with winning… people make fun of others all the time, so winning and insulting others/dominance are different things.

Winner’s Attitude: Look what I can do! I’m good at this – so good, that others come to me to learn how to do it. People are impressed by how well I can do this. It feels good to be able to do this so well. Damn, I’m good! I like to do this, and when it gets hard to do, it just makes it more challenging and when I overcome the challenge I feel superhuman! Not just anybody can do what I do, or as well as I can do it… It would definitely be a bummer to me if I couldn’t do it anymore – this is what I live for!, and I bet there’d be people who would wish I could still do it. I like making them happy – it makes me want to do this even more, when they are happy because of me.

Making others feel bad by putting them down… one is hurting, has been put down many times before, they do not feel appreciated, they can’t make themselves feel better, they are tired of being hurt – putting others down is a “I’ll hurt you before you hurt me,” or “If I can’t be happy, nobody can be happy,” sort of thing. It can happen individually or as a group. (This also applies to negative domination, when the ‘other’ does not want to be dominated.)

But, between friends, it’s a “I like/love you, warts and all,” sort of thing. (This also applies to good dominance – in every relationship, friendly or unfriendly, there is one who is more dominant than the other/s.)

interesting, but would it still feel good to win at other’s expense?

Winning something reinforces that we are better than somebody else, a primal urge to be the fittest, strongest, the best and therefore the most desirable…Survival of the fittest really. Our subconcious awareness of its potential causes us to feel good if we suceed at something i think, we recognise that it gives us a better chance of being desirable if we have the traits that winners have (fittest, strongest etc). We tend to falsely make ourselves feel like the winner, or the best at something by putting other people down, although ironicly this doesnt mean we are better than them, it just gives us the impression we are and can cause the same good feeling… if you can get past the means to your ends.

Western society places so much emphasis on the individual, and winning. Collectivist societies such as Asian cultures identify themselves with their team, or corporation, etc. The priming through television, social interaction, and just plain ole experience in good ole America has created billions of little money hungry, gotta win, cant loose, I will do what I wanna do because thats what my four fathers did, materialistic, never wrong, unhappy unless I am better than someone else because if not then I suck; or at least thats what I was taught, negative little monsters! Americans associate winning with happiness and success. I believe evolution is also at work here as Andromeda mentioned about the primal urge and survival of the fittest.

Insulting people places us on a pedastal in our minds. If we pick out the flaws in others it takes away from focusing on our own. It makes us feel better about our flaws when we compare it to something worse. Also making fun of people creates social bonds with others who dislike that person, “welcome to the in-group”, I say.

I suppose in your mind we should desire failure or losing to success or winning? Or should we be indifferent?

How then would we be motivated to do anything useful or self-sustaining? Failure and losing are easy. For any successful action in the set of possible actions, there are a whole lot of unsuccessful actions. Without some psychological reward for choosing successful actions, unsuccessful actions would dominate. Furthermore, without the ability to do anything better than someone else, you will fall behind, and lose in competitive matters.

ASEI said:

Said I’m prouddd to be an Americannnnnn. If those questions are for me, which I presume they are, I am not attempting to explain me and my actions, I am simply attempting to objectively give possible causes to the question asked. I was raised in America and I am a product, I mean I am one of the many billions I described above. Of course I dont think we should desire failure or losing, that accomplishes nothing, I am not saying that it is wrong to want to win, but the approach is detrimental to the U.S when compared to those other collectivist societies. Our man eat man society(every man for himself) yields to low self-esteem and an array of other problems.

The idea of winning implies competition. As others have suggested, the primal urge to be ‘better than’ may almost be instinctual as a coping mechanism for survival or reproduction.

In a social setting of greater complexity, the ‘better than’ can be grossly exaggerated - ie- the current crop of reality TV ‘competition’.

A more benign understanding of competition says that a competitor is either a teacher or a learner. The highly skilled dominating competitors do their level best so that the less skilled can learn from the competitive experience. The learners do their level best to emulate the skills being shown by the highly skilled. Feeling good about winning for the teachers is that they have shown the best of their skills. For the learners, winning means that they have learned well the lessons taught. In such a scenario, all competitors “win”, the issue being skill and talent, not in humbling another competitor.

Sadly, most worldly competition is of the ‘better than’ variety. We’ve a long way to go.


I find this quite interesting and was reading somewhere about the theory that a chemical called dopamine is involved in ‘reward behaviour’ I’d be interested to hear anything anyone knows about that as there wasnt as much about it as i’d like to know. Been thinking about pavlovs dog a lot too Re: reward behaviour and how all this links with self esteem too…
we like praise for good behaviour, it boosts our ego’s and esteem levels if we feel ‘rewarded’ for something, maybe gambling creates a false sense of reward? So maybe gambling becomes psychologically addictive whether we win or lose because of the feel good esteem boost we crave?

One of these things is different from the other…

Anyway, what do you suppose would happen to a society full of people who did not desire success over failure, or winning over losing?

I personally think that no matter how such civilizations are constructed, they would fall to pieces in short order because the consequences of failing too many times in a row are poverty, starvation, and death.

In the natural world, failure means you don’t get enough to eat or a predator chews on your entrails. The gazelle has to be faster than the fastest lion, the lion has to be faster than the slowest gazelle. Winning is very important. In the civilized world, men’s cooperation has softened the action-consequence gradient a bit, but can never safely get rid of it. If a farmer doesn’t care about “winning”, more often than not his fields will be bare and the civilization will starve. If the engineer didn’t care about “winning”, then more often than not your engines would blow up or not work, your planes would break, trains crash, and your buildings collapse. Winning is central to sustaining life. That is why it makes us feel good.

Low self esteem isn’t a societal problem, it is a personal one. In many cases low self esteem is a warning that you aren’t good enough at something to be competitive.

Of course they are different, in one of the quotes I am explaining who I am, in the other I am expressing that I am proud of who I am. Where exactly were you trying to go with that? I suppose I didn’t catch it.
ASEI said:

The society would be a bunch of losers. A bunch of pot heads that really could care less about anything. But i BET that since everyone is like that, and loosing is sooo easy, people would be happier with their more simple, low socioeconomic lives.

“Its not enough to suceed, other must fail.” -Gore Vidal

Why? Simple. When you suceed and others fail, it makes your success that much more important, that much more valuable, that much more difficult to have achieved.

Think about this: what does getting an A mean? Well, if it’s really difficult to get an A, if many others try and fail, if A’s are exceptionally rare, then the more the A will be worth. But if the Majority get A’s, if A’s are rather easy to obtain, then what does that A mean? What is that A then worth? Not much. Hence it’s not enough to just get the A, others must get F’s.

It all starts from the right Premise that each of us need one thing: unconditional Love,
which means I need to lvoe myself as each word and as its opposite other.

This UL allows me to get my needed Love and that good feeling both from winning and from losing: I can be and am a humble winner and a graceful loser. UL means that it’s not if i win or lose but how in Love i play the game that counts only. I win in Love and so teach the loser how to win when he beats me: in Love. I lose in Love to teach the winner how to lose when i beat him: in Love.
So when I lose a game or lose whatever, I never lose my winning self-Love. When I lose, I lose in Love, which is better than never to have loved myself as a loser at all.
And so, when I win, I am a double winner: I win whatever or whoever and I have my winning Love.

The same apllies to any pair of opposites: good and bad, putting down and putting up, and etc and etc.

All problems of over-doing therefore then come from the incorrect root dynamic of:

Love for self as one and Hate of self as the opposite other.

1.When I love myself as a winner and hate myself as a loser,
then winning becomes the basis of getting my needed Love, which Love is what makes me feel good.
And since I need Love at all times,
then i have to win at all times at all costs to feel good all the time.
In effect, I don’t win for the sake of winning, but I win because i hate me more as a loser than I love me as a winner, and because i so hate myself as a loser and so hate losing: in other words, my hatred for losing overdrives me to overwinning.

  1. If I love myself as good and hate myself as bad,
    all the above applies by just subbing good and bad for win and lose.

  2. So too with insulting: which is to call someone else a name I hate myself as,
    and with putting myself up: calling myself the opposite name I love myself as.
    In hate of myself as put down, I must always be put up to love me and feel good in Love. And to keep that feel-good Love coming, I have to be over-putting others down all the time and over-putting me up at all times.

  3. So too with loving myself when I am worth something and hating myself when i am worth less. To keep that feel-good Love for me coming and coming at all times, I have to be worth more and worth more at all times.

  4. So too with threats which are greater than me and its opposite promises which are lesser than me. I am not threatened by threats lesser than myself.
    When I love me as a lesser promise and hate me as a greater threat, being equal to the threat by neutralising it makes me look as great and equal so i can love myself as much, which is where ‘misery loves company’ comes from;
    putting down the threats puts me up and makes me look greater so I can pretend that I lvoe me more, and keeping the threats down and permanently down gets my Love coming all the time with the feel-good.

So the Love of any word out of Hate for its opposite is the root of all the excess evil in every department of life.

hope that helps.

100% love and respect,

Budding Flower,

Since Buddha also says the following:

“If men speak evil of you, you must think:
‘Our heart shall not waver;
we will abide in compassion, in Love without Hate.
We will think of the man who speaks ill of us with thoughts of Love, and in our thoughts of Love shall we dwell.
And from that abode of Love we will fill the whole world with far-reaching, wide-spreading, boundless Love.’
Moreover, if robbers should attack you and cut you in pieces with a two-handed saw, limb by limb, and one of you should feel Hate, such a one is not a follower of my gospel [of Love].” Buddha in Majjhima Nikaya.

“Never in the world is Hatred conquered by Hatred:
Hatred is conquered by Love.” [Love conquers Hatred.]
Dhammapada 223.5

then this:

“Followers of the Way, if you wish to see this Dharma clearly, do not let yourselves be deceived. Whether you turn to the outside or to the inside, whatever you encounter, kill it. If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha; if you meet the patriarchs, kill the patriarchs; if you meet Arhats, kill Arhats; if you meet your parents, kill your parents; if you meet your relatives, kill your relatives; then for the first time you will see clearly. And if you do not depend on things, there is deliverance, there is freedom!” (Zen Teaching of Rinzai)

must mean this:

Followers of the Way of Love,
if you wish to see this Dharma of Love clearly,
do not let yourselves be deceived by Hatred of yourself as any word. Whether you turn to the outside or to the inside,
whatever or whoever you encounter that you hate, kill that Hate for it.
If you meet the Buddha and hate him, kill your Hatred for the Buddha;
if you meet the patriarchs that you hate, kill your Hatred for the patriarchs; if you meet Arhats and u hate him, kill yiour Hatred for Arhats;
if you meet your parents and you hate them, kill your Hatred for your parents;
if you meet your relatives you hate, kill your Hate for your relatives;
then for the first time you will see clearly in Love.
For if you do not ever depend on Hatred of things for Love of yourself as the opposite word,
there is deliverance,
there is freedom!"
(Zen Teaching of Rinzai)

what do you think?

all love and respect,

iloveu has way too much love too give…

uh uh!
Love is never and can never be too much since it is always supposed to be 100% all the way!
U know the FS song: When somebody loves u, it’s no good unless they love u all the way.
True Love is always just enough!
Love is The EIOU: The Eternal I Owe U: I always owe 100% of it to myself as all others and to all others as myself.

But of course, if i hate me as any words,
when you come along and love me more than I love myself,
i must and will logically but incorrectly conclude that you love me too much.
Books like ‘Women who love too much’ are mistitled unless they mean Love as misperceived as too much.

What kinds of people do you hate?
A Loving Xmas and an Aghappy New Year to you and yours!
Ditto to one and all!

love and r,

illativemindindeed wrote,

:laughing: Not if your the one doing the eating!

Iloveu’s making me want to puke here… You know when you over use a word it begins to lose it potency. (just a comment, just a comment)

Sorry, UndergroundMan!

If it wd help, you don’t have to read me anymore! Since that is all I say!smile

Plus, wd your cmt on “not if you’re the one doing the eating!” mean that when I am over-using my eating in a dog eat dog world, I should puke?:wink: I never puke on who or on what i love!

What about too much of a good thing still being a good thing?:lol:

all love and respect,

Why do people like to win? POWER

A: Others may need to be aligned with a “winner,” therefore the winner will either feel or obtain power.

B: Loosing causes the looser to feel weak or inferior, or somehow imperfect, which is a signal to others that they lack power, therefore individuals like to win to feel strong, superior, and powerful.