Let’s weigh in on the subject of winning and losing.
It seems that there are two distinct camps when discussing how winning and losing effects us and our lives. On one hand, there are people who believe that it’s important to have winners and losers in life, while on the other there are those that feel there shouldn’t be a distinction between winners and losers…that we’re ALL winners.
That last stance is interesting…if not illogical.
Man by nature is a competitive animal. During our hunter/gatherer days, we competed for food, a suitable mate, and a desirable cave (those last two may be reversed – for some of us anyway). In reality, we still do compete for these – and many other things in our daily lives. Sometimes we succeed (win) and sometimes we don’t (lose), but I think there’s a healthy side to this delineation.
When we win, we learn that hard work and sacrifice lead to success. In the realization of a goal comes the understanding that the euphoria of achievement trumps the sting of failure. Winning isn’t everything, but it is the ultimate point of any competitive contest. Without competition, you don’t have a game. Yes, you can work hard and NOT win, but winning is not always found in a final score. Sometimes, lessons learned in a loss have tremendous value and therefore can be considered wins.
Losing exposes us to an ugly reality of life…we will not always get what we desire because in fact, that is an unrealistic expectation. This is the reason state lotteries are so frustrating. Spending a dollar to get millions sounds great, but the chances of winning are so slim, you have a better chance of being hit by lightning 5 times than you do winning a huge lottery prize. Now ask yourself…when was the last time you talked to someone that has been hit by lightning once? When we lose, we feel we’ve been defeated, yet losing gives many the motivation they need to become better at whatever it is they were doing. The ultimate goal would be to become a winner. So for those people, losing is the precursor to – ultimately – being a winner. If losing were to become “okay”, they might never have the motivation required to get better at anything we attempt.
We know life isn’t always fair, and that something one person is good at can be a completely insurmountable task for someone else. However, pretending that winning and losing does not exist is equivalent of pretending light and dark doesn’t exist. Sometimes…you need to open your eyes.