Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Winner Loses More Than Wins

What's the difference between a winner and a loser?

A loser is someone who is fully obsessed with winning.

A winner is someone who isn't afraid of losing.

Winning Is Easy

It's actually very easy to be a 'winner'.

When I was in high school, I enjoyed a lot of 'wins'. I won first prize at my school's 'Read A Lot Project' (shh.... I sort of 'cheated'). My brother and I tagged-team to victory at an Inter-School Scrabble Competition. And because of such 'wins', I was summoned onto stage by the principal during morning assembly in front of the rest of school.

But deep inside, the wins felt hollow and cheap. I was the only student who rented 4-5 books a week from the local store. I used to play Scrabble with my aunt, cousin, brother and mother almost weekend. (Yeah, I was quite a nerd back in school)

Winning is easy when you have a head start in the competition. Winning is easy when you have resources others don't. Winning is easy when no one else is seriously competing.

Losing Is Better

My 'losses' outnumber my 'wins', though.

I couldn't break into my school's debate team. My best mates and I competed in a band competition and went home empty-handed. I couldn't even win a damn essay competition at school (though I managed to outdo my schoolmates at the regional level and embarrass my teachers - haha suckers!).

Oddly enough, I remember my 'losses' more vividly than my wins.

As a wise Jedi master once said: "The greatest teacher, failure is."

It's human nature, after all. When we win, we tend to get carried away with our inflated sense of superiority, and overlook external factors such as luck and our opponent's mistakes. When we lose, we reflect more deeply about ourselves - where did we go wrong, what could we have done differently, what should we improve on next time?

Biggest loser in the galaxy

Winning Isn't Everything

Over the last 2 years or so, I've trained a lot of students for mooting competitions.

Some have won trophies, most haven't.

Most people would define a 'winner' as the person with the most trophies. But not me.

One could 'win' a trophy for a variety of reasons. The level of competition wasn't that strong. It was a strong collective effort. Luck and timing.

Likewise, one could 'lose' repeatedly for a variety of reasons. The level of competition is much harder. Lack of resources. Luck and timing.

As I've said last week, context is everything. Basic facts alone can be deceiving. Every detail matters.

Which is better: being a champion of a national competition or finishing Top 10 in an international competition?

Sadly, Malaysian society tends to value the first higher.

(I believe it's all due to our 'jaguh kampung' (village champion) mentality. Despite our burning passion in football, we've slipped to an all-time low of #175 in the world. In every field we do, we're just stuck in a bubble of mediocrity.)

Fear Of Losing

The greatest weakness of students is not lack of ability, but fear of losing.

They deliberately avoid challenges that they're not confident of winning.

Even after they've won something, they avoid competing again in fear of losing and tainting their 'legacy'.

They care more about winning than learning and developing themselves.

But as always, karma is a bitch. The obsession of winning may win you 'trophies' in the short term, but ultimately make you lose out in life in the long run. The fear of losing limits your reach, and ultimately, the level of your success.

Those who fear to lose ultimately turns out as 'losers'.

Those who let go, those who don't give a f**k about their self-image, those who dare to push beyond their limits... these are the people who eventually turn out as 'winners'.

And the winners and losers are...

I could give real examples. I can delve into the details.

But I won't, because I do not wish to embarrass certain people. I do wish, though, they would read this, take the hint and get out of their 'loser' mentality.

I could name the 'winners', of course.

But I won't, because part of what makes them as 'winners' is that they do not crave the spotlight, and may even feel embarrassed being put in the 'spotlight'.

Ultimately, they're 'winners' precisely because they couldn't care less about how many 'wins' and 'losses' they have. They're just focused on the next challenge. They don't have time to celebrate and feel all nostalgic about past glories. They're busy trying to push themselves, stronger and upwards

Occasionally, I do write about their 'modest successes' - like for IMLAM and Price Media. But I do so not so much as to recognise their achievements, but to inspire others to be like them.

from right to left: Winner, Winner, Winner, Winner, Winner, LOSER!!!

Lose First, Win Later

Stop obsessing about winning.

Stop fearing failure.

Stop being a loser and start winning in life for real.

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