Visualizing defeat has its benefits

One goal I have this year is to enter more competitions. It’s the middle of February, and I have already chalked up three losses on my battle record….and I’m ecstatic. That might seem like a strange reaction. However, this year, I’m prepared to lose in every opportunity I face, and I think you should be too.

I know winning is usually the preferred outcome. It makes sense. I don’t know of anyone who prides themselves on being a loser. However, there was a time when I was winning and not feeling like a success. There were instances where victory came at the sacrifice of my values, and it felt strangely like defeat.

When it comes to artistic expression, the best trait I can develop is authenticity. When someone looks at my work, they see me. And, in case you haven’t experienced it yet, not everyone is going to like what they see. So when I speak to the world, I can choose to communicate who I really am or try and please people. I make a similar decision when I’m on the dance floor in front of a panel judges. When the music hits, I can dance the way I feel, or dance in order to win. I might luck out, and the judges prefer my authentic style. However, the moment I make their acceptance my focal point, I lose a bit of my own truth.

This has been a recent revelation for me. For most of my life, I tried to keep defeat a stranger rather than getting acquainted with it. I feared mistakes — feared letting other people down. I stifled my own unique voice because I favored other people’s opinion of me over my own convictions. I realized in order to dance honestly, I have to embrace losing — to get comfortable with it. So when I find myself in a position to be declared a winner or a loser, the outcome doesn’t sway my actions.

In whatever I am pursuing, I find value in visualizing and anticipating my expected losses. I do all that I can to put myself in a position to win. I evaluate, train, prepare. However, when a decision is out of my hands, I have to be ready if it doesn’t go my way. And her I find myself 0–3 with many more match-ups to come, and I’m excited. Not about my first victory for the year, but for the fact that any additional losses won’t keep me from the next event. I’ve accepted the possibility defeat the moment my shoes hit the hardwood floor. And the moment I start moving — the second I take action — I know I’ve already won.


Originally published at www.olakunleoladehin.com.

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