How to Master the Etiquette of Winning

Winning is a wonderful thing. But how you win is a whole other game.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #311

Tip #2: Stay Classy

For those of you who believe keeping your manners intact is not a priority when it comes to the big win, take a look at someone like boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather after a cheap win over  Victor Oritz (note - this video contains harsh language). This fight goes down as one of the cheapest wins in professional sports history because of some rather unsportsmanlike behavior displayed by Mr. Mayweather. Things got worse during his “victory speech,” when Mayweather cursed at broadcaster Larry Merchant, who questioned Mayweather's tactics. An exchange that once again allowed Mayweather to claim his other world title--The Rudest Professional Athlete Alive. His actions irk me to this day, on multiple levels. For starters, he’s an amazing boxer. But, time after time, he destroys our ability to celebrate his wins with his brash and immature behavior. Where’s the humbleness? Where’s the “thanks for the good fight?"

When I decided to write an episode about the etiquette of winning, I thought about people like Mayweather and their behavior. I would much rather cheer for someone who lost but shows class with defeat than someone who wins without it. Interestingly enough, I came across this quote that sums up the proper way to embrace victory (by Paul Bryant): “Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.” Winning is one thing but taking the time to remember how you got there is another. People will forget about your win if your ego over shadows the work.

Tip #3: Winning Isn’t Forever

Like most things, victory celebrations don't last forever. You can be king/queen of the world one day and, the next day, the game starts all over again. Another person is working his or her way up to you, or to your spot.  Whether in sports, business, or even life, there will always people on the heels of every winner, just waiting to step in. I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but it’s the truth. Revel in your win, celebrate, see your name in lights…but it’s improper and irrational to think staying at the top can last forever. The beautiful thing about competition is that everyone has a chance to take home the grand prize. Money, looks, and prestige simply don't matter in the long run; what matters is how you play the game.

The reason why I want to stress this point last is because it highlights the importance of following Tips #1 and #2. You have to approach competition properly in order to solidify yourself as a winner. No one will want to celebrate with you if you don’t appreciate the journey. And no one will respect you if you can’t win with grace. This perspective allows you to also respect those in your field more and embrace what it means to have a successful, true victory--not just a fleeting "win."

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and, of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

Victory image courtesy of Shutterstock