The World of Winners and Losers


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Below is an article by JYP , a singer, songwriter, record producer and the current CEO/founder of JYP Entertainment, a major artist management/record label of Asian pop music.  Think Diddy, but Korean.  A college classmate (thanks Matt!) had posted it in a note last year and I wanted to share.

While it is broadly aimed at those just beginning their post-high school lives, JYP does address those of us in our mid-20’s which I have put in bold.  He writes…

“When you are 18, the world gets divided into the “winners’” and the “losers.”(20 Korean age = 18 American age. Referring to the college entrance).  Ones that got into colleges of their dreams and ones that failed.  Between these two worlds, there were obvious differences in every aspect.

On one side, there are parents’ blessing, new clothes, romance/excitement of college life that comes with hope, while on the other side there’s really nothing more than the cold reality of life.  No longer is he/she protected within the parent’s fence or use youth as an excuse for immaturity.  To be the result of the few immature years during the youth, it was too cruel and the difference was too immense.

After I have crossed that bridge, did I finally realize how brittle and how dangerous the bridge that I have crossed. I was relieved at the fact that I was part of the “winner” circle and spent every minute of my time enjoying this status.

Really, early part of my 20’s was just one big celebration of victory, and I didn’t invest any time or effort into my future. My early 20’s were filled with friends, women, alcohol, and clubbing. I had gotten complacent.  I mistakenly believed since I was in the “winner” circle, I can live my life freely without any worry.  However after 7 years have passed, I started to witness amazing changes.

The seemingly never-ending world of the two have intertwined and have gotten divided into four and then eight different worlds.  My friend who had wandered aimlessly after not getting into a college, wrote a book about his journey and became a bestseller.  While my other friend who graduated from a prestigious college and then hired at a prestigious job, became unemployed after he lost his job due to the unexpected restructuring of his company.

Friends who couldn’t go to college became best in their respective areas as a choreographer and a CEO of a restaurant chain.
Without any notice, what seemed to be impenetrable barriers of the two worlds seem to be crumbling.  At 18 years old, it was just the beginning.

Like those 18 year olds, who tasted the bitter failure because they failed to realize the concept of the two worlds, people who naively think their current state of the world, at mid 20’s will not change, will also taste the bitter failure in less than 10 years.  On the other hand, people who don’t give into the concept of “two worlds”, who continue to keep faith and stride toward their dreams and their goals, will overcome the boundary of the two worlds.

Those of you that are 18 years old, whether you like it or not, the world will put you in either the “winner” circle, or the “loser” circle.Winners do not be complacent, Losers, do not despair.  If you have realized that the world will divide into two when you are 18, then you will also find out in seven, eight years later it will once again divide.

At the tender age of 18, don’t forget that it is only the beginning.  Just because you get a head start doesn’t mean you will come out on top.  Likewise, just because you get a late start doesn’t mean you are not going to come out on top.” –JYP

I believe JYP’s advice is very pertinent for our times.  Especially in the current state of the job market, for some of us, it is very easy to fall into negativity and think you have “lost”.  However, nothing in this world remains static.  Change happens.  Whether that change happens in leaps and bounds, or slightly beyond our daily measure, things change.

There needs to be a balance.  Believing you are a winner and will always be a winner, or conversely, a predetermined loser is extremely unhealthy.  Life doesn’t work that way.  For a real world example, check out this Vanity Fair article concerning disgraced lawyer Marc Dreier.

Have a great week!



One Comment on “The World of Winners and Losers”

  1. linda says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this blog. I found it encouraging 🙂 Thanks for writing this/sharing.

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