The Art of Losing

There are at least two ways of understanding ‘losing’:

  1. From a competitive viewpoint
  2. From a creative viewpoint

When losing is viewed in the world of competition, only the winner benefits; the winner gets the scholarship, the cash, the medals, the corporate sponsorship, and the cheers of the adoring crowd. The winner becomes the hero and the saviour. There is only one winner – winning cannot be shared. This is the case with most sport.

Winning can be seen in a different way. Winning and losing are opposites. We can’t understand one without the other. It’s the same with up and down, hot and cold. Winning and loosing are illusions and when we are trapped in the illusion we can’t see outside of the box.

Winning and losing are a part of life; they are aspects of all ‘play’ and of any ‘doing.’ We can also refer to ‘success’ and ‘failure’ to describe the same thing.

The challenge for many people is that when they fail, they only focus on the act of failure, the fact that they didn’t achieve their goal. They get bogged down with worry about future failure and then either sabotage any future potential success or give up instead of making a new attempt.

How many attempts did Thomas Edison make before he created a working light bulb? Apparently it took over 1,000 models before one filament lasted and the now common light bulb was born.

So was Thomas Edison a loser or a failure? Why didn’t he give up after 20, 50 or even 500 attempts? Didn’t he feel like a loser?

What Thomas Edison knew is that failure is an illusion. However, failure is a way to understand what one needs to do next to achieve the result. Failure is a lesson: a simple lesson that says, ‘don’t do that action again.’ Out of every defeat is the seed of opportunity, but one has to be willing to seek the truth and to better themselves, to try again, to look at the ‘problem’ with new eyes and a different approach. Winning, then, is the determination to continue after multiple loses without emotional attachment to the loss.

Every failure is a successive step towards success. Success is the ‘following’ or the ‘coming after’ the work completed. Success is natural and success is also a mindset, the belief that failure and losing are lessons.

When the loser loses with grace, he or she knows they gave their all, and played their best. When a team loses with grace they recognize that all the elements that make up a team simply came together in a better ‘way’ for the ‘winners’ and they will study what the winning team did, post-game, in order to become better and win the next time around.

To your success!

© 2011 Darren Stehle & Integrated Fitness. All Rights Reserved.

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