Why You Should Learn to Lose

I’m a nasty loser. For a while, I even told myself that I wasn’t a loser at all. That is, of course, absolute nonsense.

Simon Ternyik
Mar 15, 2019 · 5 min read

Every human being is a loser at some point in his life

Some more often, some less. But show me a single person who has never had to accept defeat in his life. I would like to make a bet with you: There is no such person! It does not matter how often we lose in life. Instead, it depends on how we deal with the losses and defeats.

We grow with our hurdles and defeats

We learn from our mistakes. We stretch ourselves and grow. For this, we have to lose. No one likes to lose. I hate to lose. As a little child, I already played with my grandmother ludo. I almost always won. The first time, however, when I lost, I threw the whole board off the table and screamed. Not a nice character trait. But nobody is perfect.

One of my biggest weaknesses is my unyielding will to win

Second place was never enough for me. Because even when I finished second, I lost from my point of view. I didn’t care that I was better than thousands of other children. No, I always had to win. Nothing was good enough for me — just the first place. Already at the age of 10, I won first place in the darts at the local sports days in a little town in Hungary. I have to say that there were no age groups. That meant: I prevailed against all members of the local sports club.

A twelve-year-old boy from abroad became first: before all others

Perhaps this was one of the reasons why I was mistakenly proclaimed at the prize-giving ceremony in the stadium: but only in third place! I was furious. There I was first, but instead of the dartboard I just got three darts and the certificate for the third place. In front of everyone. That was unfair. Because in fact, I had become first. The tournament management could not undo the mistake anymore. The supposedly first winner had already left the field with the prize. To the chagrin of the actual runner-up, I was then awarded second place and the third runner-up prize. Unfair. So I started looking for the cheater. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find him, even after a two-hour bike tour. Frustrated, I arrived home and sulked all day long: I had lost, although I had won. I threw the stupid plastic dartboard into the corner of my room. “Who plays with plastic darts?” I thought to myself. “Only small children do that. I want a real dartboard and darts with metal tips. Such a crap.”

I had to learn over several years that losing is nothing terrible

It is instead a learning process that leads us through important experiences to our goals. A detour that allows us to experience the ups and downs of life holistically. That is wonderful! I am still reluctant to lose. However, I have understood that losing is okay. I have accepted it.

Thomas Alva Edison had built 10,000 light bulbs before his last model worked

Has he given up? Never. Could he have won without losing 10,000 times before? Hardly. Because success is nothing else than the exclusion of mistakes.

This legendary quote comes from one of the Rocky movies

Get up again and again. It doesn’t matter whether you lose or not.
That’s what we all do. The question is: Will you get up again? Are you going on? I have described above some small defeats from my childhood. It used to be a big deal for me. Today I can laugh about it. Of course, ambition and the will to win also have their right sides. But you have to accept it when you lose a game. You only lost one game! How many games you will still play in your life is up to you! A new game, new luck. You get better with every game, increase your skills and abilities and grow beyond yourself. It’s that simple. Someday you will win. And if you “only” become second:

Hey! Wake up! After all, you were better than 99% of the participants

Make yourself aware of that.
Meanwhile, I have learned to deal with my defeats to some extent. My frustration tolerance is higher than before. I see possibilities in failures and reflect on them. So must I. If you take a high risk in your life, you need a high risk and frustration tolerance.

Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

There are great opportunities in risk. But also great losses

The risk is good. But we have to learn how to deal with defeats.
One of the most important lessons in my life was “Learn to lose!” Accept not always being the first. Only then can you grow. Otherwise, you will break at your defeats.

Empty your glass before you refill it

It makes no sense to pour expensive wine on bad ones. Empty and clean the wooden barrel first, before spilling the values drop, bring it to maturity and then, after years of proper storage, enjoy it.

Photo by Luke Besley on Unsplash

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +435,678 people.

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Simon Ternyik

Written by

Author, entrepreneur, social worker and manager of social and health services M.A. Writes about happiness, personal development, wealth, start-ups and stocks.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +564K people. Follow to join our community.

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