Winning through losing

From an early age, we learn from our parents and society how important it is for us to win, but perhaps it is more important, we experience what it feels like to lose.

Because I had little to no motivations, this wasn’t a phase I went through, but children sometimes do go through phases where they won’t play with other children unless they know they’re going to win; this may be brought about by their parents teaching them how important it is to win.

But if children win all the time, they will never learn what it means to lose. We learn so much more about sportsmanship from losing than we do from winning. We learn about the value of losing when we come to examine our loss and try to understand why we didn’t win.

We can be completely prepared, trained, focused and experienced and still not win. Losing is an inevitable part of the process; not everyone can be winners all the time. Over our lifetime we will probably lose more than we will win, so it’s important we know how to deal with losing.

We’re all winners and need to recognise we are even if we lose. Just because we lose, that doesn’t mean we’re a loser. If the average child finishes last in the egg and spoon race in school that’s okay. There may be various reasons why that child didn’t win.

But finishing the challenge makes us winners. Having a go is a challenge and that also makes us a winner. Society should embrace winning and losing in equal measure. There is too much emphasis placed on winning and not enough on losing.

There has always been a stigma behind losing and perhaps that is what needs to change. In my mind, we’re all winners whether we come first, or we come last. It is our perceptions that need to change.

9 Dec, 2011

8 thoughts on “Winning through losing

  1. It’s true that sometimes failure is a very powerful lesson in having a reality check that you are not the only person on the planet.

    It definitely helps you appreciate the times you are successful all the more; rather than just expecting it.

  2. Very good post. I agree with you an all accounts.

    My daughter used to think she had to win all the time and would get upset when she didn’t.

    I’ve seen a lot of kids do this, but I think those with special problems are more prone to it because parents treat them with kid gloves, when all they need is to be treated like a normal child.

    1. Thanks Lisa. Ditto. I’m not sure how many parents discuss losing tournaments with their kids. School is where all this seems to start.

      It’s hard for kids to work through the fundamentals of losing, but is well worth the effort. It’s part of life I feel. They have to be prepared for it.

  3. A person must learn how to lose with grace. People cannot win all the time. Losing is a part of life and teaches us so much.

  4. There is definitely too much emphasis in society on winning at everything.

    Most people can’t handle it, since it’s hard to deal with it if you haven’t really dealt with it before.

    I’ve dealt with too much of it, so now I have to learn how to live with it so I can get on with my life!

    1. Randy I totally agree. I would think those of us who have never experienced losing, won’t know how to deal with it, in the same way those of us who continue to lose won’t experience what it feels like to win.

      Unfortunately when we lose, we have the emotional ties that bind us to the act of losing and it’s those feelings that make it hard for us to deal with, made worse because of society and what society expects.

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