Learn to Lose

When my son was a young boy, he had a very difficult time with accountability. If a situation arose and he didn’t get his way, he’d lash out and then blame anything and anyone for his response (somehow his older sister was his favorite target). It took my wife and I a long time to get him to understand that actions have consequences and that he was accountable for his response no matter what. Granted, most young children have this issue because, in general, they can’t think logically until they are older, but remnants of this problem can persist into the teenage years and even into adulthood. I’ve witnessed it a lot the last few days in the world around me, mostly with adults.

The reality is that life is not fair in any sense of the word, nor should we expect it to be. All of us lose much of the time. In this case, I’m using “lose” in a crude way to describe any situation where life doesn’t go as you planned or you don’t get your way. Certainly, this is overly simplistic, but the premise still holds true: You will lose a lot in life, so you better learn to do it well.

Acknowledging this and accepting it doesn’t make it any easier or more fun, but doing so helps you stay focused on the things that really matter. J.K. Rowling “lost” a lot on her path to publication. Just about every successful author has stories of rejection and famous last words from agents or publishers who didn’t feel their work was worthy of publication. In these situations, you essentially have two choices: (1) roll over and die, metaphorically or (2) learn and keep moving forward.

Obviously, the second choice is preferable, but it’s so hard to do. In moments of frustration, it’s easy to lash out, like my son did when he was younger, and blame anything and anyone for your loss, but not only is that counterproductive, it doesn’t move you forward. If anything, it proves you’re a poor loser, and poor losers get stuck in life like a car whose spinning tires just dig deeper into the mud.

This is not to say that you can’t vent. You can, but put a limit on that and don’t let it define your path forward. We all know people who’ve let a loss consume them and they constantly prattle on about how they’ve been wronged. After a while it becomes trite and annoying, and if they can’t move past it, you’ll often move on from them. We all lose a lot. We get it. Move on.

Winston Churchill allegedly said that “success is moving from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” Regardless of who may have coined this saying, it holds true. We have to learn to lose or we won’t get anywhere in life. Whining and blaming won’t get you there. Just ask my son.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s