Losing Is Winning

by Krantcents · 20 comments

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Yes, you read that right, losing is winning!  The commentary during the London Olympics about various gold medal winners is they did not make the cut for the Beijing Olympics.  The Olympics is definitely elite international competition and there are winners and losers.  If you think about it, there can only be one gold medal winner per event. Naturally, that means there are many more losers than winners.

Many of those losers come back four (4) years later and win.  Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics! He was expected to do well at the 1968 Olympics and instead he failed!  He predicted he would win six (6) gold medals, but only won two (2) gold medals.  The winners make it look easy, but we all know that there is a lot of work, talent and skills that go into winning a gold medal.

Making mistakes or losing teaches you much more than winning.  If you are not doing anything, you cannot make any mistakes!  The more you do, it is likely you will lose!  Athletic competition is a metaphor for life.  We play sports as kids and what do we learn?  We learn to do our best, set goals, practice and win or lose.  When we lose, we say it was only a game and when we win it was great competition.

When you lose, you have to evaluate your efforts!  You make changes or adjustments and you win.  Isn’t that what you do when you try to accomplish a goal and you miss?  You evaluate your performance and make changes.  If you are really on top of your game, you were monitoring your performance along the way and making small adjustments.  See, you learn much more from losing!

How do you handle losing or mistakes?  Do you dwell on them or fix them to succeed?  When you had difficulty in school, did you just accept it or blame the teacher?  How you react to problems or mistakes will mean success or failure.  If you use the mistake to reevaluate your approach or efforts to achieve your goals, you will succeed.  If you look at your failure or mistakes as a signal you should give up, you will fail!.  What do you do?

Part of failure is giving up!   Successful people never give up on their goals.  Each one will rationalize their predicament.  The person who gives up says they really didn’t want it anyway.  The successful person generally will just explain it as a mistake and push forward.  It is as though he/she has been there before and will push until success.  I think most people do not realize that successful people fail often, but you don’t hear about it.

Which one are you?  Everyone can be successful, but you need the right attitude to keep going when you make mistakes or fail.  Michael Phelps was expected to set a Olympic record and yet he lost his first race.  In an interview after he won twenty-two (22) medals,  it was part of his plan.  He realized he could not be his best at every event so he picked the events he thought he had the best chance of winning.  It is not unlike most of us, where we evaluate our chances of success.

Final Thoughts

Win or lose, you should monitor your performance.  When you make mistakes, you should evaluate your performance and make adjustments.  Isn’t that what coaches do?  Coaches look at your performance and make changes to help you achieve your goals.  You are your coach, so go make your adjustments to meet expectations. If you are always winning, you probably are not testing yourself.  Competition brings out our best and it improves performance.  Remember losing is winning!

Photo by:  ssoosay

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{ 19 comments }

Greg@ClubThrifty August 27, 2012 at 6:19 am

You’re right. You learn so much more from losing than winning. Failure can either beat you down or teach you how to succeed. The choice is up to the individual.

Krantcents August 27, 2012 at 7:03 am

I learn so much more from my mistakes than the goals I accomplish. Most successful people fail all the time and you never hear about it.

maria@moneyprinciple August 27, 2012 at 11:34 am

Cannont agree more with you here. I live by two beliefs: one that one learns much more from failure (so a successful conference for me has always been the one where I get loads of comments and start revising the paper promptly) and two, that win or loose is not important – what is important is what one does after that.

Krantcents August 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thanks, I learn so much more when I lose or make a mistake too.

Roshawn @ Watson Inc August 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

We learn a lot from things not going as expected. It is tough medicine to take but also an important aspect of our growth.

Krantcents August 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I agree and we learn a lot about ourselves. Many people react differently to mistakes, failures and losing, Some give up while others view it as a challenge. Mistakes etc are just part of life and we need to overcome them.

Brent Pittman August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Two ways to learn 1) Direct Experience 2) Wisdom gleaned from other’s mistakes and triumphs. I agree much can be learned by personal mistakes, but I try to avoid loosing as much as possible and focus on gaining wisdom from those filled with knowledge.

Krantcents August 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I do too, however personal experience will always have mistakes. Some will be small and others can be bigger, but they do not have to remain mistakes. I learn from my mistakes and apply that knowledge so it does not happen again.

Barbara Friedberg August 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I try to lose fast and often. I figure the more I fail, the closer I step to success!!!

Krantcents August 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Interesting strategy! If you are doing anything, you are likely to have your share of mistakes. I try to learn from my mistakes to avoid future ones.

AverageJoe August 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I like the Phelps analogy. Pick your spots where you have the best chance of “winning” and focus on those. When you hit a wall, get back up and keep moving!

Krantcents August 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I think faced with what he faced in competition, you have to pick your contests. Most of us do not have that much happening at once, although I see the merits of his strategy.

Tie the Money Knot August 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm

While I don’t like to go into anything with the intention of losing, the reality is that most of us don’t have luxury of handpicking life situations in which we can always win.

That’s where taking the right attitude toward losing comes in. We should make sure that when things don’t result in the success we wanted, we should analyze what happened and why it happened. Then, we need to apply these learnings to future endeavors in order to reach better results.

It’s about learning from experience, and often times adversity can be the biggest teacher. It can also be a big motivator.

Krantcents August 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

I do think we pick our priorities! We place importance based on priorities and therefore could be called winners. I agree, we learn so much more from mistakes than the accomplishments.

Jason Clayton | frugal habits August 28, 2012 at 6:53 am

I love this article, because it mentions probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned about winning or being successful… that being “never giving up”. Sometimes you think it is the end of the road, when in fact the road goes on another mile before you are successful.

It took me some failures to figure this out, as I’ve always expected things to go easy for me and would give up on some goals too early. It was only after I accepted this truth, that I started being successful in my personal goals in life.

SB @ One Cent at a Time August 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Losing to me is not always winning. You can lose badly and go down on morale. You may lose once and for all. Can you tell Napoleon that losing is winning?

I would like to classify that some losing is stepping stone for future win but, not all losses.

Krantcents August 30, 2012 at 6:53 am

You learn something every time you lose! Too often some people give up after a minor loss or mistake.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter August 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

Well said Krant. We learn so much for our experiences that even if we fail or things don’t turn out how we expected we still gain. I know in my own life I wouldn’t be the success I am today without have gone through some really difficult times in the past. It is like that old phrase goes – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Krantcents August 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I would love to skip the mistakes, problems failures, but it is what improves our judgment and knowledge.

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