“Mama, you know what? When you lose it can also be a gift from God. Do you know that Mama?” I have no idea what my sweet girl was contemplating in that kitchen chair by the window watching me cook dinner. Her comment was unexpected. Before I could dig deeper, her brother ran in the back door and called her attention to something he had found. Her words are lingering in my mind.
When you lose, it can also be a gift.
Gifts are not always evident in the present.
That's where faith comes in. We are clay in the potters hands when choose to be. Letting go doesn't come easily. It takes practice and concentration.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”Psalms 91:14 NIV
If you can't accept losing, you can't win.
—Vince Lombardi, championship football coach
Failure is a pejorative term for not getting what we want when we want it, or for not measuring up to someone else’s standards. It’s common (though not necessary) to feel upset when this happens. Our culture reinforces this notion that “winning” is better than “losing,” and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow have one without the other.
In truth, what you have is an experience and a basket of labels. You cannot win without losing, because one is meaningless without the other. They must come together. Knowing how to lose is a prerequisite to winning, because it is only through the mistakes that you make along the way that you learn how to win. After all, you learned to walk by falling; it was the perpetual falling down that refined your sense of balance into a sustained, upright stride.
Yet you must be faithful to yourself while you're "losing." Rarely do we "win" at something the first time, and we almost never master a skill with our first stroke. Whether it's playing the piano, raising a child, or starting a business, we will make many mistakes before we master the challenge before us. Indeed, failure is the only way we can master the challenge.
So what happens to people who see losing as a part of winning?
- They Become Smarter
People who can accept losing are able to learn and grow from the experience, and put the lesson to immediate use. With each failure, they become smarter and harder to defeat.
- They Increase Their Self-Confidence
People who can accept losing increase their self-confidence as they begin to appreciate the subtleties of the challenge and refine their approach. They measure their progress not by where they’re headed, but by how far they’ve come. Their appreciation nurtures self-confidence, which improves their performance, in a positive feedback loop.
- They Keep Marching Forward
People who can accept losing are free to keep on trying. They don't get strung up in self-criticism or despair. They affirm themselves no matter what the outcome, and see the challenge through to the end. They don't take losing personally; losing is an education, not a reflection. People who accept losing as a resourceful part of winning keep moving forward, stronger and more skilled than they were before.