The Art of Being a Good Loser
Winning is thrilling, but winning is never guaranteed. As no one has complete control over outcomes, losing is part of the game.
Though you cannot avoid the pain of losing you can learn ways to emerge stronger. Whether in a tournament or game we’ve all gone through the disappointment of losing at some point in our lives. The actual problem isn’t losing but actually how we respond to the concept of losing.
Part of what separates elite competitors from their counterparts is their ability to respond to losses in ways that lead to growth. Anyways, one needn’t be a PRO athlete to learn lessons from losing. In this piece, we run you through ways you can deal with losing and take it in your stride.
Manage emotions, refocus attentionAthletes, artists and sporting enthusiasts push themselves to new levels. In the process they’re vulnerable to mistakes and even fail. Though losing hurts, it’s part of the growth and mastery process.
If the fear of failure makes you refuse risks or challenges, then you’re playing small. Likewise, dwelling on losses can make you feel frustrated and prevent you from moving on. Though these feelings are natural holding onto them is a roadblock to success.
The good news is you can learn to manage emotions that accompany a setback and get back on the horse. By refocusing your attention from the sting of a loss to the lessons learned you’ll become a ‘better loser’.
Reduce reactions, choose responsesRecall the last time you experienced a loss and the emotions you felt. ‘I’m a loser, I suck, A disgusting mistake?’ Your emotional reactions make you feel embarrassed, miserable or helpless.
Being a better loser, at its core, means reducing reactions and choosing responses instead. Observing experiences neutrally as they are in a non-judgmental manner (without labelling them good or bad) helps you remain unfazed in the face of failure.
Show yourself the compassion you’d show othersWhile being critical is essential to growth, practising kindness and reminding yourself it’s okay to make mistakes can help you sail through difficult times.
Whenever you lose, think about the comforting words you’d offer to a peer who lost and offer the same to yourself. You’re worthy of the same kindness or compassion you’d offer others so be nice to yourself. Simply shifting your perspective can allow you to think more helpfully even amid disappointment.
Prioritize only ‘workable’ thoughts post a lossAll thoughts your mind throws aren’t helpful, and it can entangle you in its chatter. Everything your mind says ‘I’m not good enough, it’s so shameful’ makes you a captive.
Acknowledge that self-defeating thoughts aren’t serving you and shift your focus on the goals in front of you and their process of achievement. A constructive thinking pattern of how you can set yourself up in the future helps.
Analyse your performance in a balanced mannerAn overachieving mind puts so much emphasis on winning that at times this can be detrimental to recognizing your shortcomings. But if you introspect where you did exceptionally well and where you’ve fallen short, you’ll be able to improve.
Following a failure, analyze your performance in a balanced manner rather than fixating on the negatives. Reflect on what transpired, where you did well and where you didn’t. These recollections will mitigate the tendency to over-focus on any particular area and maintain your balance.
Lastly recognize the fact that you’ve no complete control over everything in competition and no matter how hard the waves of failure come crashing down, the situation will pass. Not going hard on yourself and taking all experiences as learning will make you a better loser.
Alvina Clara, Content Writer, emQube