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Winning Isn’t Everything: How to Make Losing a Good Thing


“Winning isn’t everything

You’ve probably heard the phrase “winning isn’t everything” a time or two in your life. 

“If winning isn’t everything, why does losing feel so shitty?”

Well, the answer is pretty obvious.

You’re being lied to.

Of course, the notion of “winning isn’t everything” couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Winning is absolutely everything

Why on earth would you do anything if you didn’t want to achieve a specific result?

Watch any sports final and take a look at the loser’s bench. Do you see them celebrating? 

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s stoked about losing. 

Why losing is a good thing

Usually, when people give you crap advice, it’s because they are losers themselves. People say things to reaffirm their opinion, self-belief or worldview.

However, there is an element of truth that most losers don’t follow up the statement with…

Winning isn't everything... - Vince Lombardi
Learn from your losses

Losing is inevitable and is a fundamental part of self-improvement for the aspiring man. 

Although winning is everything, you must lose to strengthen character, identify weaknesses, refine routines, mix up methodologies and foster the skills necessary to triumph on the next go-round. 

Unfortunately, this convenient caveat is never presented in conjunction with “winning isn’t everything.”

Again, most people are losers.

Overcoming loss

My last major loss was the kind where life pulls the rug out from underneath you. And flips your entire world upside down.

Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war - Donald Trump
From the God-Emperor himself

I was on the verge of bankruptcy after failing a company that was poorly conceived from the get-go.

While the doors were still open, I would routinely enter the office with my blame-shifting firearms blazing. This continued during, what ended up being, a 90-day downfall. 

With my life savings gone and no new source of income in sight, I entered one of the lowest points of my life. 

Months later, once the dust of failure had settled, I was able to begin sifting through the deluge. And eventually found the black box containing the decisions that led to my failure. 

Losing is a reality check

Sayings exist for a reason. If they didn’t hold an element of truth, they wouldn’t be sayings in the first place.

You can ignore reality... - Ayn Rand
Are you ignoring reality?

In reality, I ignored a lot of sound advice that led to my failure. Don’t think that just because something sounds cliche, it isn’t valid.

Here are a handful of painful lessons I learned, red flags I ignored and bad advice I followed during that experience:

  • Don’t chase good money with bad money” 
  • Money is a byproduct of success
  • You are the average of the company you keep
  • Nobody will care as much about your business as you do
  • When everything disappears, everyone else will disappear” 

Reframe failure

How do I view this monumental “loss” now? 

Well, I no longer see it as a loss at all. 

Rather, it was a clear and costly consequence of multiple bad decisions. My way of doing things simply didn’t work.

I am not failing, I'm growing - James C. Collins
Are you failing or growing?

Setbacks provide a moment of clarity and growth. In my case, putting all my eggs in one basket and blindly forging down an ill-chosen path was a bad idea.

Sometimes a swift kick in the ass from reality is the best medicine to cure a mediocre mindset.

Adapt or die.

Failure has a way of forcing you to reexamine your approach. 

In my case, I had lost. And I’ll lose again. But I choose to not be a loser.

Convert negative statements to positive affirmations

Find yourself in a moment of failure?

We are defined by the stories we tell ourselves. -Tony Robbins
What’s your story?

Here’s a nice activity to remove yourself as the victim and make yourself the hero of your own story.

Convert your negative self-talk into positive introspection.

Original: I can’t believe this happened to me!
What decisions did I make that caused this to happen? How can I prevent the same outcome in the future?

Original: Everyone is out to get me!
New: Why did I choose to allow these people into my life?

Original: Is this ever going to end?
New: How can I position myself to soften the landing and rebound swiftly

How to overcome failure

There’s a reason everyone loves a good underdog story. The path to triumph and overcoming obstacles to achieve is pure ecstasy to a man’s mind.

There’s no magic pill. Winning takes work. And the process is difficult.

However, the steps are fairly simple:

  1. Accept your loss
  2. Examine why it happened
  3. Change your approach
  4. Adopt new behaviors
  5. Practice until they become habit
  6. Try again
  7. Win

A winning attitude is everything

You’re not going to win all the time.

But, you can always exhibit a winning attitude – regardless of the outcome. 

Sometimes you’ll still get your ass handed to you. In fact, it’s inevitable.

As long as you choose to not be a loser, you’re already a winner.

So, next time you find your life on the losing side of the coin, keep a winner’s attitude. 

What sort of failures are you experiencing right now? What mindset or behavioral changes have you made to overcome these obstacles?

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