What to do when you lose

Losing stinks. I was fully invested in the U.S. Women’s soccer team run for the World Cup. Despite playing a great overall game, the U.S. team fell short in the final to the deserving champion, Japan. Seeing the U.S. lose after overcoming Brazil and France in stunning fashion was tough to take. The team was gracious in defeat, though. How you lose sets you up for your next win.

Nothing says triumph over tragedy like Japan’s world cup win. Just four months after their country suffered its greatest loss from natural disaster, the Japanese women’s team proved to be winners. Great adversity provides an opportunity for great accomplishment.

Everyone loves to win. No one wakes up in the morning with a burning desire to lose at whatever they do. The desire to succeed is part of who we are. I have had to quell my desire to win at everything as I’ve gotten older. I’ve learned that destroying everyone in my way to be a glorious champion is not only impossible but also results in angry friends and relatives. Losing is still terrible, though. I just hide my disdain much better.

The U.S. team’s path to the World Cup final was exciting, harrowing, frustrating and amazing. As much as that tested the mettle of these women, the following days will do so all the more. Both of the U.S. and Japan have shown that perseverance will result in wins. I’m sure the U.S. team will move past this to enjoy many other great wins. They have proven that they have the right perspective.

Congratulations, ladies. You did America proud.

Congratulations, ladies. You did America proud.

Team USA’s unbelievable comeback win against Brazil was all about persevering. The sentiment from the U.S. players after the loss to Japan showed perspective. They expressed disappointment, but congratulated the victorious. Sure, it hurts to lose, but tomorrow is another chance to win. We are going to lose at some point. Not every day is a triumphant procession of awesomality and goodness. Learn from the mistakes and realize better days are ahead.

When a loss happens the first thing we have to fight against is bad perspective. “Woe is me” or “the world is against me” attitudes do not produce champions whether it is on the field or in the home or office. The sooner we can leave a disappointing loss behind the closer we are to our next win. After blowing a large lead at the Master’s golfer Rory McIlroy said, “There are a lot worse things that can happen in your life. Shooting a bad score in the last round of a golf tournament is nothing in comparison to what other people go through.” McIlroy went on to win the U.S. Open Championship by eight strokes a few weeks later. Perspective matters.

Once our sight is right we must press on through pain and disappointment. We have a choice to make losing define us or shape us. To be defined as a loser is never good. To be shaped by losing is not bad in the least. We must decide what shape we will take. A defeat can be our greatest teacher. Identifying our weaknesses and doing something to combat them will set us up for bigger and better wins in the future.

The U.S. women’s soccer team gave our country joy and excitement the last few weeks. In their own minds, I am sure they have already identified areas of improvement. Champions are never formed without introspection. They are always honing, tweaking and preparing for the next challenge with expectation of success.

We may not lose a championship on a world stage, but we will face serious challenges in life that will test our perseverance and perspective. In those moments keep your vision on the bigger picture and do not quit. You were made to win.


About the Author


Mark is a marketer and sometimes writer. He's trying to get better at that sometimes thing.

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