“If you learn from a loss you have not lost.”
Whack! A fierce and snappy roundhouse kick was thrown to the head. Two points called. Slap! The opponent returns with a fast spin hook kick. Two points called. Going back and forth, back and forth the competitors went exchanging a flurry of kicks and punches. It was an intense sparring match. Both were determined to win first place. But in the end, only one was going to win. And, the other was going to lose.
Two weeks ago, 97 martial arts students ranging from the ages of five through fifty-four competed at the spring KiMudo martial arts tournament. Black and colored belts alike showcased their skills in front of the judges and a large audience. It was exciting to watch the different levels of abilities while experiencing the breadth of emotions among each competitor.
They all wanted to win. You could see in their faces. You could hear it in their voices. You could feel it in their energy. And if they said winning didn’t matter…they were lying.
Let’s face the facts. We all want to win. And, we all hate to lose.
Why do we hate losing so much? It feels bad, plain and simple. It crushes our hearts and drains our spirit. Negative self-talk fills our minds making our bodies feel heavy. As our self-confidence takes a nosedive, we believe we’re a failure not good enough to achieve our goals.
But, here’s the other fact. When we lose, we learn. And most of the time, we learn more from losing than we do from winning.
At tournament when the competitors lost, they still won. They won valuable life lessons far more meaningful than a plastic trophy. They won courage for facing their fears. They won humility building character and honor. And, they won knowledge of what needed improvement to become greater. With this track record of lessons learned, did they really lose?
Now, you don’t have to be a martial arts competitor or an athlete to learn from losing. Anyone can learn from a loss. Many things will happen in your life giving the same opportunities for personal growth.
• You lost the job offer you were vying for
• Your marriage or relationship fell apart losing your partner
• You were passed over on the quest for a promotion
• You weren’t accepted to the college you were applying for
• You submitted a proposal to client that was rejected
Culture places tremendous value on winning while attaching one’s self worth to achieving external accomplishments. Losing or failure is portrayed as being weak, but really it’s about gaining inner strength. If you choose, losing is the fuel driving you to a new level of personal development.
To make a win out of a loss requires a mindset. You need to see the win within the loss instead of seeing yourself as a failure. If you let the pain of losing go, you’ll see the hidden gems of what was gained.
Losing is humbling, without a doubt. But humility teaches even though you’re good, someone or something will always be better. Your cup filled with ego pours out to fill it with the openness to learn. If you think you’re better than everyone else, the door to learning shuts tight closing you from deeper personal growth.
The only way to move from good to great is to know what needs improvement. Losing opens your awareness to see what needs to be changed within. This self-awareness is your flashlight in the dark exposing your strengths and weaknesses creating the pathway towards transformation. Opening your humble heart gives depth to your spirit, builds character and strengthens integrity.
Acceptance lessens the painful blow of losing. Learning acceptance in the face of adversity teaches the power of living in the present moment. When you embrace the uncomfortable effects of losing, you accept reality just as it is right now with ease and grace.
You learn the value of grounding your self-worth within your highest self rather than achieving corporate status, six-figure income or how many Facebook friends you have. You are human, and nobody is perfect. By turning your focus inward, you’ll embrace your humanness to withstand failures making you stronger to handle tough situations. Your heart opens becoming compassionate with yourself loving all aspects of who you are.
Losing is a wake-up call. It opens your eyes to the wonderful things existing in your life. After a devastating loss, take a moment and breathe. Reflect on what’s meaningful such as loved ones and close friends. Express gratitude for the love you share with them. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what’s important enjoying the gifts God gave you.
If you have the right perspective, losing or failure is transformative. It sets the stage for inner growth changing you deeply within. Life is a journey filled with wins and loss teaching you valuable lessons bringing you closer to your highest self. Within these lessons, you’ll embrace and grow your inner qualities while learning to love yourself unconditionally.
The next time you’re afraid of losing on your venture, move forward with confidence and ease to achieve your goals. Get out there and go for that new job, try that new relationship or maybe even compete in the next martial arts tournament.
In the end with everything to gain, what do you have to lose?