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Devin M. Davis: What Will You Discover On the Other Side of Fear?

There’s a key scene in Gladiator that epitomizes one of Devin M. Davis’ deepest beliefs. The Retired Marine Corps Veteran, Author, Business Coach, and Senior Credit Specialist says that if you want to succeed in life, you have to play to win, not to lose.

“Many of us remember when Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, must battle Tigris of Gaul in Rome’s Colosseum,” Devin says. “This place was brutal – individuals had to fight each other to the death in front of over 50,000 people who were there simply to be entertained by the spectacle. Not a place where winning was easy.”

Maximus was unlucky enough to have angered Commodus, Rome’s Emperor, and found himself facing a gladiator wielding both a sword and an ax in the battle. If that wasn’t enough, tigers suddenly sprang out from the depths of the Colosseum during the fight, swiping at him and nearly mauling him.

“The odds were stacked against Maximus, and few would have been surprised if he had simply given up,” Devin says. “However, as we know, he did not – instead, he fought for his life. He was either going to win or at the very least make it very tough to be taken out. He fought offensively, not defensively.”

Devin says that in the scene’s final moments, when Maximus stands victorious over his opponent, he illustrates an important principle: no one ever wins in life if they enter the arena expecting to lose. A goal can only be accomplished if you fight for it and have a winner’s mentality.

“Have you ever thought about whether you are playing to win or playing not to lose?” Devin asks. “Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot of people about their lives, including whether or not they are really happy with what they’re doing and achieving. Almost immediately, I can sense if the person is playing to win or if they are playing not to lose.”

People who are playing not to lose, he explains, are playing it safe. They are coloring within the lines and staying within their comfort zones. They have set rules for themselves: for example: they won’t post a picture or videos on social media and risk making a fool of themselves even though they secretly would think it would be fun and cool. 

“It could be the individual who makes it to age fifty without ever having been challenged or fulfilled by their career,” says Devin. “They have chosen a job that pays the bills, which is a blessing, but deep down, they know they would rather be doing something else. They worry, however, that they are too old, too established, too-something to take a chance and go after work that is more meaningful for them. They are playing defensively, not offensively, and seeing the results day in, day out.”

Those who are not afraid to take on gladiators and tigers in the Colosseum, however, approach each day differently. “The interesting thing about these people is that they are not, in fact, fearless,” says Devin. “They are not immune to anxiety about the future. Instead, they refuse to allow it to stop them. They keep their eyes on what they want to accomplish and focus on being a champion. They approach every moment of every day with the intention of winning – even if they don’t.”

Why is it that some people play to win and others don’t? Are some individuals just naturally wired or driven to succeed?

“Perhaps, but I think that’s a little too simplistic,” Devin answers. “Yes, some people are innately confident or assertive and so go after what they want without reservations. What is far more inspiring, in my opinion, is when a person struggles internally with their self-doubts vs. that college degree they want to earn or that new skill they would like to learn. When they choose to ignore their fear or perceived limitations and go after their dream, that is heroic.”

If you really want to succeed in life, you have to fight even when you get knocked down. You must take some risks even when you want to run the other way. “Taking risks is not the same thing as being unwise,” Devin allows. “Don’t jump out of an airplane without a parachute. It does mean, though, that if you want to see your life be transformed and live life on a higher level, you will have to step through the fear. When you do, what you discover about yourself and your true potential will convince you to say goodbye to self-doubt forever.”

Devin M. Davis is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and self-made entrepreneur who has built several successful businesses, including a business coaching company and a financial services business. As the author of Business Credit Secrets and the builder of Boost Score Now, he has taught and studied finance, credit, business, money, motivation and leadership for many years. Devin is using what he knows about attaining success to help more people understand that there really are no elevators to success – only the stairs that they choose to walk up, one step at a time.