“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”
I have no idea where that saying came from, but Christiansburg’s head football coach Tim Cromer was the first person I heard use it. It was in a post-game interview following a tough loss and I found it to be quite brilliant that the coach was able to see the game as a tool helpful in bettering himself and his team, rather than just a failure.
Truth be told, most of us are going to have more losses in life than wins.
Most of our lives will more closely resemble a professional baseball player at bat, rather than an NBA star at the free-throw line. If a batter succeeds in getting a hit a third of the time, he’s a great player, but a pro basketball player who succeeds at free throws even 70 percent of the time is considered mediocre at best.
Being that most of us are far more like the batter, we’re no stranger to striking out. We’re no stranger to losing, to failing, and to simply coming up short.
It seems we have two option when facing those failures; We can claim it was just a bad day and continue along the path that led us to the loss, or we can look at the failure as a tool for making us better people. We can learn from our mistakes and learn to see the pitfalls of failure and avoid them before we’re sunk.
I have, however, found avoidance to be a fine line and I’ve found it easy to use my failures as an excuse for sitting out life’s games altogether. If you don’t play, you can’t lose, right?
That seems to make sense at first, but in reality, it’s miserable because you also can’t win. I’ve learned that you can’t half-ass life like that and expect to be fulfilled. Life demands to be whole-assed.
Life can’t be lived on the sidelines for the fear of losing, that risk will always be present along side the possibility of winning. If by learning from our failures we become too paralyzed to go all-out for future victories, what we’ve learned is a waste.
“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it…Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours.” — C.S. Lewis
Losing can be used as a tool, but the reality is that tool is no good unless someone is willing to put it to work and is at its best when the worker is fully dedicated to whatever job it’s being used to complete.
In the past I’ve done a poor job of learning from my losses in life. I’ve fallen into the trap of repeating my mistakes and I’ve fallen into the trap of removing myself from life altogether.
Neither have led to winning.
Along with my other resolutions in 2015, I want to manage my losses better. I want to see them as a tool I can use to better select the moves I make in life and to give me the confidence to go all-out when making them.
I know I won’t always be winning, but I want to always be working towards winning.