Sunday, August 11, 2019

How To Lose In Life Without Losing Sleep, Spirit And Sanity

No one enjoys losing.

Especially after having investing so much time and energy to be a winner.

You lose sleep, spirit, and even sanity.

Your mind keeps replaying the painful lingering moments of defeat, wondering what you could've and should've done differently to avoid defeat, and telling yourself to just give up fighting any more.

After all, what's the point of fighting only to lose, over and over again?

Indeed, the world is growing more crowded and competitive, each passing day. The gap between winning and losing is widening. Each failure adds extra weight on your shoulders, slowly chipping away your confidence.

But losing doesn't have to be the end of the world. Here are some ways to overcome your sense of loss...

Live to fight another day

* * *

#1 Be more performance-driven, not result-driven

Sometimes, outcomes in life are beyond your control. There are a lot of external factors at play - timing, luck, and so on.

Now, this doesn't mean you should find excuses each time you fail to meet your goal. Instead, this simply means focusing in your performance as much as the results.

Sure, it sucks missing out on getting 'A' in an exam by a single mark, or fall short of your annual revenue target by a few hundred bucks. But still, you should appreciate how close you came to making the cut. Take heart from your valiant effort.

The key is to be honest on your own level of performance. Just as it's possible to win without actually out-performing others (e.g. your lecturer or boss is biased towards you for whatever reason), losing also doesn't mean you under-performed.

Don't lose sleep over nightmares beyond your powers to stop.

* * *

#2 Push yourself, not be pulled by others

Most of us are swamped with insecurities.

We can't tell how good or bad we are at something. We're not confident of our own abilities unless validated by our peers or some higher authority.

As such, we rely on constant support from our teammates and leaders to keep going. And whilst we do receive enough of that for most times, we tend to flail and stumble once the positive vibes fade.

Hence, we shouldn't let our actions and goals be dictated by the opinions of others. Sometimes, their influence may be disruptive, drag you down, and limit your horizons. For their ability to judge you may be impaired by their own limitations, or worse, self-interest.

Your will to win should come from within, and not reliant on people's feelings and expectations about you. Only you know yourself best.

Don't lose spirit over how lowly or narrowly others think of you.

* * *

#3 Count your own gains, not your peers'

Even when you've won something, there's always someone else who won more than you.

Got a First Class? So did three of your classmates, and one beat you to the Valedictorian award (by 0.01 CGPA).

But raw numbers don't tell the whole picture. You all picked different electives, different questions in the common exams. And grading standards across different lecturers may differ greatly.

Likewise for job interviews or promotions. Your interviewer or boss may be harder to please than those faced by the next candidate or colleague.

Again, the point is not to make excuses for your near misses. Rather, it's to appreciate that someone else's gain doesn't need to count as your loss. It's fine to be competitive, but life shouldn't be a 'zero sum' game.

Enjoy your own harvest, don't look over jealously at what your neighbours reaped.

Don't lose sanity over scores, rankings, and awards.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

* * *

In life, there will be winners and losers.

No one can win every thing, every time. So don't beat yourself up each time you lose out the top prize to someone else. Defeat shouldn't break your body, mind and soul, but make you even stronger and wiser.

As Theodore Roosevelt puts it: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

For as long as you're performing to the best of your ability, you've already done enough to win. Whether you ultimately win or lose is left in the hands of fate.

And if you do lose out, so what? It's just game over, for now. There are plenty of battles ahead worth fighting for.

Don't quit. Stay in the game.

Keep trying, keep winning.

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