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How to Lose and Still Be a Winner

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You may be wondering, How does one lose and still be a winner? Surely once a person has suffered defeat, they are deemed the “loser” of the bout right? In the tangible sense, this would hold true. However, one can take a loss and still be considered a winner based on their reaction to losing.

There are several instances in life besides sports and friendly competitions in which we would say we took a loss. For example, not getting selected after an interview for your dream job, getting rejected by a girl after mustering up the courage to speak to her, receiving a lower grade than you expected on a project you spent several weeks creating, and many other areas in your life where you have fallen short of your goal.

These failures and shortcomings are just a few examples of what humans experience daily. Some handle these losses better than others and will usually find ways to learn from their mistakes. From there, self-improvement develops. Thus resulting in a higher chance of success when another opportunity arises.

True winners understand that there is no victory without struggle. Those who adopt that mentality will benefit greatly.

A Loss Doesn’t Define Who You Are

To remain a winner after a loss, you must realize that a loss or failure doesn’t determine who you are as a person. Just because you didn’t make the basketball team doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to be on the team.

The coach may have decided that you lack a particular skill or ability that he seeks within his players. Use that opportunity, not to quit and self-loathe, but to continue improving your skills.

A true winner knows that when plan A doesn’t work, he doesn’t automatically switch to plan B. He goes back to plan A and revises it relentlessly until he crafts a strategy that will be more effective. Your instructor told you that your art didn’t qualify for the competition? Don’t give up and throw your canvas away. Keep pushing every day, not to satisfy your instructor, but to instill in yourself that one loss will not prohibit further growth.

You will improve immensely as you continue to work on your craft for the many months and years to come. Never let a loss paralyze you and make you feel incapable of improvement. There will be more opportunities to give it another shot, but only if you are willing to accept your losses and persevere.

“If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress.” – Frederick Douglass

True Winners Have Taken More Losses Than They Can Remember

Anyone who is a master of their craft was once a student in that field. Anyone who is successful knows that on the road to success, it is inevitable that you will take a certain amount of losses before the victories begin to take place.

This ability to take losses over and over again separates those who will eventually quit from those who will carefully evaluate each loss and find an alternate route to success. When you develop this pattern of thinking, you begin to realize that losses are virtually wins within themselves because each loss reveals the methods that DON’T work.

Treat each loss as a lesson. From there you can eliminate all the processes that don’t work and take note of the ones that do work until you have established a system that will lead you to victory.

In order for this to happen, you must be prepared to go through the dreadful process of taking countless losses.

Effort Is Beautiful

Even if you lose you should be proud of yourself for making an attempt. If you asked your boss for a raise and he declined, congratulations on your effort.

There are people out there in a similar predicament who wish they had the same courage to do what you did. The results of your failed effort may sting or feel uncomfortable in the moment, but the feeling will subside.

There will be times when you are ridiculed, criticized or laughed at. You can either let it motivate you or hold you back, the choice is yours. Putting your fear to the side and exhibiting your best effort will always give you a greater chance of succeeding when the opportunity presents itself. To be the best you have to try and fail, but never fail to try.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Some Things Are Out Of Your Control

The worst thing you can do is blame yourself for something that is out of your control. There will be numerous instances where you put in tremendous effort and still fall short of your goal.

You may be assigned to a group project in which you spend a considerable amount of time working on your part of the project, only to find out that when it’s time to present, your peers have not fulfilled the responsibilities they committed to, resulting in a poor grade for everyone involved.

No matter how stern and diligent you are in reminding your peers of their responsibilities, you have no control if they will follow through with them. It’s in these moments that we must remind ourselves that there will be things that affect us that are outside of our control.

If a similar situation arises, you will know to communicate your problems to your instructor beforehand to ensure they are aware and can possibly eradicate the issue. What separates winners from losers is the ability to accept what can’t be controlled and putting a concentrated effort into working on all the things they do have control over.

Accept Your Losses With The Same Attitude That You Accept Your Victories

The mark of a champion lies in his ability to handle defeat. He doesn’t blame others for his losses. Instead, he embraces the loss, as tough as it is because he knows that a loss isn’t a direct reflection of who he is, neither is a win. If you are relentless in your efforts to improving yourself, then there is a much better chance that you will win time after time.

At the end of the day, a win or a loss is only a judgment of a result. A person’s character and how they accept their wins and losses will reveal if they are a true winner or not.  If you want to be the best at winning, you must learn how to be the best at losing as well.

How has losing lead you to become a winner? Please leave your thoughts below!
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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lady Anne

    Jun 1, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Awesome! Beautifully writen. I’ll come back and read this whenever I feel down.

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The 3 Types of Confidence You Need to Know and Understand

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We’ve all heard it before, confidence is everything. Those that seem to have it, have it all. They, themselves, are not necessarily perfect human beings, but they seemingly have the charisma to attract whatever they want in life. (more…)

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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