July 22, 2021 at 4:10 pm #120542Site Administrator / Forum ModeratorKeymaster
Losing sucks. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost a sports competition, a job to another applicant, or a promotion that you truly believed you earned; it sucks to lose. Rejection is losing, too. You know, like when you ask someone to dinner and they politely decline. It is particularly hard to watch others lose, especially when you were hoping for their triumph. As adults, we know that losing is a part of life. We accept it. We cope with it. But let’s face it, it sucks.
In America, we are born and bred to win and win big. When we do, it is a feeling like no other. We love the thrill of being the victor. I suppose that is why we take losing so seriously. We are vested in the things that matter to us. We are committed to achieving the things necessary to win and when that doesn’t happen, it hurts. Depending on how big the loss is, it may take days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years for bad feelings to subside.
But there is an important part of losing that is often overlooked. The part where you lost what you think you wanted but, in the end, wind up getting something much better. Something you could have never imagined.
Let’s take a look at few real life examples, starting with my first marriage. When my wife of just eighteen months left me for someone else, it was devastating and took me the better part of two years to get over. But the fact is, that had she not left me, I would have never met and married the true love my life.
I was in the running for a promotion and as the number one salesperson, I thought I was a shoo-in for the store manager position of a high volume location. What they offered me, however, was an assistant manager’s job at a lesser, low-volume store. But it turned out great. Just a few months later, one of the owners sons’ decided he wanted to be manager of the high volume location, which resulted in the other manager being let go, as there was no place for him in the organization. A month after that, I was offered the corporate training position. This ultimately led to my owning and operating my highly successful training business for the past 33 years.
There have been countless times that I lost a speaking job or a new contract that I felt I deserved, only to have something twice as good come along that I would not have been able to accept, had the original job come through.
Three-time Indy 500 winner, Al Unser Sr., showed up in Indianapolis in 1987 for the Indy 500 with no car to drive and no team to drive for . He promised himself that, if he was not offered a new car to drive with a top team, he would go home. After two weeks of looking and not getting a ride, he went back to his home in New Mexico dispirited, believing his racing career was over. Three days after returning home, he got a call from a top team who had a one year old car to drive. It was a show car sitting on display in a hotel lobby. Not an ideal situation. Reluctantly, Unser accepted the deal and went on that year to become the second four-time winner of the Indy 500.
Abraham Lincoln was a compromise president that almost no one wanted and who most thought would be a massive failure. As a matter of fact, each of his cabinet members wrote letters home to their spouses after their first meeting with Abe, telling them that Lincoln was a buffoon and would not last more than six months. Six months later, each cabinet member sent another letter home stating that they had mis-read Lincoln and that they now felt that he was a brilliant leader, the likes of which had never been seen before in Washington D.C.
Not all disappointments or setbacks have happy endings. But if you take a look back, you are more likely to see where many did, and that the outcome took you to better places than you could have ever imagined. It’s funny how that works. We seem to get what we need, when we need it. Like Aerosmith sings in their smash hit, Dream On, “ You got to lose to know how to win.” I believe this to be true.
The important thing is to take your losses and setbacks as they come and hold no resentment. Anger, resentment, and jealousy don’t change the heart of others, they only change your heart. It was Carrie Fisher who said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Furthermore, the longer you bask in your resentment, the longer it will take for your next win to happen.
Twenty-twenty has been a trying year for most people around the world. Many dreams and plans were put on hold or lost completely. These mental, emotional, and sometimes physical setbacks have most of us feeling like we have been robbed of something we will never get back. I reject that. Although this has been a difficult year, which has not gone as planned and where many have experienced loss, there is a silver lining. The reality is that most of us are still winners and the challenges that we have been forced to face have created opportunity. We just have to look closely.
In the year 2020, we got to rethink our professional lives and rethink our priorities. We learned that we did not need athletes, musicians, move stars, entertainers, or politicians in our lives to survive and be truly happy. We learned that the very things we were chasing, were actually taking us further away from the things that provide us with meaningful happiness. We learned that family, spirituality, health, quiet time, friends, and the love of pets are what truly sustain us. As we had to hunker down and our worlds became very small, many of us were reacquainted with things we had forgotten. The simple pleasure of a family dinner around the kitchen table or a movie enjoyed while lounging on the sofa, were somehow fortifying. Working from home made us reassess our careers and redefine the things that matter to us. Even though there was this ominous pandemic, for some of us it was an occasion to recharge. The simpler life may have been just what we needed, although we never would have prescribed it for ourselves. The extraordinary circumstances brought us to a new normal. Our small circle of family and friends gave our life meaning and purpose. The losses of 2020, whether they be the pandemic, the fires, the political circus, or the economic fluctuations, have actually handed us a golden opportunity to reset our lives. It may have not happened the way we wanted or when we wanted, but it did happen, and now it’s up to us to seize the day.
You can walk away from 2020 and continue to feel like you have lost, or you can hold your head up high, stand up straight, put your shoulders back, and forge ahead. Sure, you may not have gotten what you wanted, but you most likely got what you needed. Cue another legendary rock band, The Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, well you might find, you get what you need.” This is the case with most setbacks. Something better, much better is just around the corner, if it is not already right in front of you. I don’t think that there is any question that 2020 will be seen as a year where it can be said that to the losers went the spoils!
Jeff Cowan – [email protected]
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