Lessons learned from losing

“You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing. But the mark of the good loser is that he takes his anger out on himself and not his victorious opponents or on his teammates.”

So I was talking to my wife and she was telling me about a story she had recently heard about a town in Michigan where they were no longer keeping track of wins and loses. They had made the decision that games could end in ties and if a team actually loses the game they would no longer be referred to as loser but the second winner. They are no longer doing cuts during try outs but continue to form teams so everyone can participate. When did we start teaching our kids that winning and losing isn’t important, why are we teaching children that mediocrity is acceptable.

I hated to lose as a kid and I hate to lose as an adult, it ruins my entire day. But the only way that I figured out that losing sucks is to endure loses growing up and learn from them. I hate that people are trying to shelter kids from the emotions you feel during competition. If you take the competitiveness out of playing sports than we’re going to produce a group of people who fold under intense competitive situations. It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete or in business you are going to be put into a situation that will involves winning and losing.

No matter what you are involved with you can’t the competitiveness out of what you’re doing. Don’t compromise the importance of the lessons you can learn from taking a lose. Coach Izzo would always tell us that he understood that losing hurt and it should hurt you, if it doesn’t hurt then you don’t care enough. But there is an unbelievable amount of knowledge you can gain from losing and that pain and knowledge you feel after a lose will propel you to future victories.

“No matter how hard the loss, defeat might serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out”

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12 responses to “Lessons learned from losing

  • Jayna

    I heard about that whole situation about not having a team referred to as a loser and I agree with you – all it’s doing is teaching those involved that mediocrity is okay, and it’s not! We should all want to strive to be the best! Nice post Timmy! 🙂

  • Lessons learned from losing | Lansing Rocks

    […] more here: Lessons learned from losing Tags: Business, game, kids, loses-the-game, michigan, michigan news, ncaa, shake-the-soul, […]

  • Angela D.

    We will never achieve greatness without some sort of competitive drive. We hate to lose as much as we love to win, and that’s what keeps us progressing as individuals.

  • Bil Moore

    Frankly, all it’s doing is teaching people not to win. And if you don’t win, you lose. In the big, bad, real world they do keep score. You are expected to try to win. You may not win at all times, but if all you’re trying to do is be “average,”, you’ll never achieve spectacular things.

    Ask any result-oriented company (Google, Amazon, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, etc.) if they would ever hire somebody that aspires to mediocrity instead of greatness.

  • Jake

    We tread a very fine line with winning and losing these days. Winning at any cost or losing with grace. Tim, you know well the story of Shay and the baseball game – I received the email from you some years ago and it still sticks with me to this day. Some people need their chance at glory even if it is on a small stage for a brief moment in time.

    With that said….I’m glad I’ve never lost at anything in my life!

  • Mrs. Bo

    Amen!!! It baffles me everyday how complacent kids are these days… They end up mentally weak and unable to handle any kind of adversity… We are raising them to simply quit when the going gets tough. They “participate” rather than compete… Excellent post Mr. Bograkos 😉

  • jaerts

    I feel the same way bud, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that people encourage mediocrity and don’t nurish a competative spirit. There should be a winner and there should be a loser, it’s what creates the drive for us to want to become better both as individuals and as groups (and from an even bigger perspective-a country). 
    This whole concept has bugged me for a while now and one example I always like to use is the participation trophey concept-rather than giving kids a trophey for being the winner, or second or third, we give them a trophy just for signing up.  Where is the drive to get better, improve and be the best you can be in that?
    In any event, good post.

  • jaerts

    I feel the same way bud, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that people encourage mediocrity and don’t nurish a competative spirit. There should be a winner and there should be a loser, it’s what creates the drive for us to want to become better both as individuals and as groups (and from an even bigger perspective-a country). 
    This whole concept has bugged me for a while now and one example I always like to use is the participation trophey concept-rather than giving kids a trophey for being the winner, or second or third, we give them a trophy just for signing up.  Where is the drive to get better, improve and be the best you can be in that?
    In any event, good post, I hope it sparks on some others. 

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