Losing. Everyone hates it. What’s to love about being on the losing side? If you hate to lose, what I’m about to say might sound a little weird: Losing is more important than winning. Yes, I fully believe that to be true.
Let that sink in.
Why might losing be more important than winning? Read on and you’ll find out.
Learning to Deal with Losing and Failure
The most valuable thing anyone can learn in life is how to deal with the emotions of losing. Losing stinks. It causes us to find out we aren’t as good as we thought, or hoped to be. Losing can make you feel out of control, or at the very least more vulnerable than we care to admit.
Losing is hard, but by practicing losing respectfully, we become better people. Recovering after taking the L and getting back at it builds character that will ensure that ultimately, you’ll win at life. We really haven’t lost completely unless we give up after losing and stop trying.
We Learn More Lessons in Defeat
When we win, especially when we win easily, how much do we really learn? I’ll give you a hint: not as much as you think. When you win and aren’t challenged, your ego grows, but your skills stay stagnant. Even worse is the potential to pick up bad habits because your inferior opponent was unable to capitalize on your mistakes.
Just as important, the big agonizing defeats imprint our worst flaws in our mind, giving us a clear objective to fix. In my youth I had a very successful career competing in semi-contact competition. Over the course of several years I put together a record of 9-2. While I do remember the victories, it is the losses that are perfectly locked into my brain as if they happened yesterday. In both cases the mistakes and shortcomings have shaped and fueled my training since, driving me to be a better competitor.
Losing Prevents Complacency
Another valuable reason why losing is more important than winning is the check it can play on our ego. Being the big fish in the small pond of the dojo, or what ever competitive landscape you play in can lead you to over inflate your self-image. Confidence is great, but losing helps remind us that somewhere, someone else is potentially bigger, better and stronger.
When we win all the time, we can become complacent, resting on our laurels and refusing to grow. Losing on the other hand can drive us to always improve and grow. Don’t be like Kramer from that Seinfeld episode where he dominates the kids karate class… instead seek out a challenge to keep you honest. If you win against increasing odds, great! If you lose, learn from it and grow!