Let's face it, no one likes to lose. If anything, most of us enter into all endeavors with a winner's attitude and with the expectation of taking home the first prize. We never go into a competition with our eyes set on the bronze medal or receive any satisfaction from taking home the consolation or participation prize. It is in our genetic makeup as human beings to always want to be the best; we like to come in first and can't help but feel bummed out whenever this isn't the case.
We all deal with loss differently. Some of us brood and mope around for what seems like forever, others succumb to defeat and vow never to try again, while a remaining few allow themselves to grieve for a little while before dusting themselves off and preparing for a second go around. Whatever the case, the way we handle defeat says a lot about us and determines our successes moving forward.
It might seem as an oxymoron to most, but there really is something to be gained from losing. Life doesn't always give us what we want; we win some, we lose some! Our loss is one person's gain just as much as another person's loss is sometimes our gain. At the end of the day, the top prize can only be awarded to one contender; the best contender.
The reason most of us don't deal well with losing is because we believe that our losses are a reflection of who we are. We therefore spend a lot of our time beating ourselves up over them because we view ourselves as failures or conclude that we aren't good enough and therefore the reason behind our losses. What most people fail to realize is that there's a lot to be gained from losing if we embrace our losses with an open mind and allow ourselves to see the lessons they present.
We can garner the following lessons from our losses:
1. We most likely lost because we weren't as well prepared as we thought we were: We really have to be honest with ourselves to embrace this truth. We most likely lost because we didn't study enough, didn't prepare hard enough, didn't give it our all and definitely didn't bring our "A" game to the table. Period. End of story. As I mentioned before, the top prize always goes to the top contender and in this case, it went to the person that was better prepared for the feat than we were.
Losing gives us the opportunity to look back at things and determine how we could have better prepared and at the same time allows us to better equip ourselves to ensure victory moving forward. Losing is sometimes the wake-up call we need to ensure that we don't take things for granted or allow ourselves to get complacent during preparation.
2. Defeat allows us to self-evaluate: Winning all the time has a way of sometimes making us cocky and leaving us vulnerable to making careless mistakes as a result. Losing has a sobering and humbling effect in that it allows us the opportunity to reflect, go back to the drawing table and determine where we went wrong, what we could have done differently or what we missed along the way thereby allowing us to fill in whatever loopholes exist and avoid making similar mistakes altogether moving forward.
Self-evaluation helps us better prepare the second time around and sets us up for success because not only do we know what to expect and are more vigilant, but it also challenges us to always put our best foot forward no matter how certain of victory we might at times be.
3. Our losses show us what we are really made of: Losing allows us to dig in and dig deep to draw the strength from within ourselves that is required to rise up from defeat and move past our losses. We sometimes attach so much to winning that we are left completely depleted and demoralized after a loss and in turn lose sight of who we really are.
Being able to bounce back from defeat demonstrates to us our human fortitude and shows us what we are really made of. Being able to get back up allows us realize that we what doesn't "kill" has the ability to make us stronger and that we can forge on in life and try again if we determine it is in our best interest to do so.
Losing isn't the end of the world in this game of life; what really matters is how we choose to handle our losses. Whether we choose to use them to propel us ahead or keep us down makes all the difference in determining whether we are a winner or a loser in the end.