The Victim To Victor Mindset

Posted by

Your actions. Your motivations.

A simple thing happened to me yesterday that made analyze how I make business decisions. I’m getting ahead of myself. Heading from Manhattan over to LaGuardia Airport in the early afternoon, something happened. I was booked on the 5:15 pm flight home, but there was a 3:30 pm flight that I was hoping to catch. As luck would have it, the 3:30 pm flight was cancelled, so I was stuck with a three hour gap of time at the airport. No biggie. It has happened before. Off to enjoy the quietness of the lounge. It turns out that their Internet connectivity was down. Normally, this isn’t a big deal. I sat down, somewhat frustrated (because I had work to get done that required connectivity) and was beginning to think about the late night of work that I would have when I got home (and with that, I started feeling sorry for myself). Just then, I remembered seeing a sign for another airline lounge (but one that was still a part of the Star Alliance family). Without hesitation, I put my jacket back on, grabbed my luggage and headed over to this lounge. It was in another area of the terminal. I got to the lounge, checked in, grab some snacks, plugged in and managed to get everything done.

Victim or victor mindset?

The mass majority of people would have taken the words of the receptionist at the first lounge as gospel. There is nothing that can be done. Just go in, sit down and wait. There’s no Internet. That’s just the way it is. We are a victim of circumstance. The truth is that there may not be another way, but unless you try – by getting proactive and fast – you never know. Don’t think for a second that I didn’t ask the people at the gate if there was another flight to Montreal (there wasn’t), or if I could fly home through a connection that would get me there in and around the same time as the earlier flight (there wasn’t), or if they could transfer me to another airline with a flight that leaves sooner (there wasn’t one). Instead of asking the person at the lounge if I can have access to the other lounge or if they had Internet connectivity over there, I just went for it. Better to be proactive and be wrong than to sit there as a victim of circumstance when I could have changed the circumstance.

"Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."  

My close-quarter combatives coach (Tony Blauer) used to say that all of the time. You have to be prepared by knowing what to prepare for. Tony is also the person who first introduced me to the "victim to victor mindset." In short, if you’re being attacked and all you’re doing is saying to yourself, "I can’t believe this is happening to me, why is this happening and why isn’t anyone helping me?" you are in a victim mindset (and potentially about to lose your life). If, on the other hand, while you are being attacked, you are kicking, punching, gouging, scratching and screaming while saying those same things in your mind, you have shifted from a victim to a victor mindset because you are proactively doing something to negate the physical attack. No, you can’t compare a lack of Internet access in a business class lounge to getting mugged on the street, but you can bring that same mindset into everything that you do. That lack of connectivity that propelled me to just move on, without asking or accepting my current lot in life, made me realize that most people don’t even know they’re making poor business decisions because they’re simply living with a victim’s mindset. You would be amazed at how often we don’t see other opportunities in life because we fall prey to being the victim.

It’s the little things.

It doesn’t make me tough (I’m not). It doesn’t make me more important (I’m not). It doesn’t make me smart (I didn’t do that good in school). It just means that with every negative bit of news that comes, my mindset is always one of being proactive instead of reactive. It’s not always perfect. I don’t always get it right. But, when it does turn out that my proactive actions did change the circumstance, I can’t help but wonder how many people (and this, sometimes, includes myself when I forget about it) are the victim… and they don’t even know it. Something tells me that we would not have the amazing entrepreneurs and innovations that we have in our lives if certain people didn’t embrace the victim to victor mindset. That stupid lack of Internet access in the airport lounge gave me pause to think about my life and the choices I make… and – most importantly – how these choices are sometimes forced on me (and not a true reality). The more I think about the victim mindset against the victim to victor mindset, the more I see business and marketing applications that are profound.

Well, which one are you?


  1. As brene brown wrote, you dared to be vulnerable. Your courage meant you could fail and that was ok. Your choice to try was akin to the motto “winners never lose, and quitters never win” (variant).
    Life is indeed 10% of what happens to us, and 90% of how we react.
    Well done Mitch.

  2. When I read this post I thought of a sports example I recently read. It was on Adrian Peterson, NFL running back for the Minnesota Vikinds and his recovery from an injury. He tore his ACL last December and although he did say “why me” at first, which seems to be a natural first reaction, he got aggressive with his rehab right after the injury. This December he is back better than ever, leading the league in rushing. Thx for sharing.

  3. Jack Canfield says E+R=O Event plus Response equals Outcome. We do not control all the events in our life, but we do control our response to those events. Therefore, we control the outcome.
    Victim response or Victor response results in completely different outcomes.

  4. Kudos Mitch. When someone gives you lemons, make lemonade. I probably would have taken the offline time to journal and think (since I’m always online and generally don’t spend enought time just writing and thinking in an uninterruptible environment). As to practice, my thoughts are practice, perfect or not, makes comfortable. Holding myself to anything “perfect” is too stressful. Mastery takes too long. “Good enought” is sometimes all it takes for me since I’m usually looking to pivot into another direction anyway. It’s keeps it more experimental and fun. Cheers!

Comments are closed.