Make losing a personal win
The world wants winners. We celebrate and teach from an early age that winning is important. You want to be the best. You want to like the best. You want to be associated with the best.
When I think back to even high school, I was able to be associated with a lot of “winning” teams and people. Funny thing is, I am not sure I remember any events as candidly as the events when I didn’t win. I can vividly remember losing a basketball game my senior year. I felt like it could decently be blamed on me for a stupid choice. Why though, with all the awesome things I have been able to be a part of, does this loss overshadow the positive times?
I analyze everything. From behaviors to data to people….i over analyze. This trait probably makes me better at some things than other people. I think this makes me better at my job. Where it challenges me regularly though, is when I can’t figure out the ‘why’. Losing is hard to accept and hard to understand. There are many types of loses, and none tend to be easy. The only thing I have found to be true of losses is they are the best possible situations to learn and grow most from. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or quick, but an opportunity, none the less.
Looking at my previous example, and the fact I still over analyze a sports loss from 16 years ago, you can only imagine the amount of preparation and participation that I do with real, hard, adult “losses”. My brain tends to go into over drive. I talk myself up a mountain with hypothetical scenarios of “what-ifs” and “but maybes”. And for what? The main focal point I have to come back to whenever I start down this path is to remember….Sometimes, when you are right in the middle of a storm, you can’t see the skies clearing.
As I think about some of the harder losses I’ve been dealt, (and don’t think I am not super thankful they are MILD in comparison to a lot of people), I try to remember how bad each felt. And also that, even when I thought life was going to stop right in my tracks, it didn’t. I continued to breath air. Each of those events made me stronger, and who I am today. That doesn’t stop me from feeling like I am in the center of a storm that won’t go away, but it allows me to remember, that it will be ok. I will come out stronger than before and more ready to take on the next challenge thrown at me. I have to. That’s the only option I have to believe to stay a happy, healthy individual.
What does mystify me is how long it takes to recover from a loss. Some losses I may never fully understand or be able to fully accept, and I think that is ok. My goal is to be able to learn as much as I can about myself, my environment, and others to be better prepared to handle the next one that comes along. So, as you enjoy life, be sure to celebrate your wins. You deserve to. But at the same time, see what you can learn about yourself as you suffer losses. Challenge yourself to allow them to let you grow.