Monday, December 1, 2014

Nobody Likes To Lose

                                               James Tiberius Kirk        "Star Trek"        


Some people will do anything to win, even cheat. Most of us as children gave cheating a try with hidden notes or glancing across the aisle at someone's paper. But losing or failing hurts so bad for some that they will go to great lengths to overcome the obstacle. By the time we reach adulthood we should be over the cheating mentality, but, in actuality, that's when many have ingrained it so deeply in their character that it is just second nature. 

What is it about losing that is so detestable, and why do many parents teach that winning is everything, and losing is, well, nothing? Isn't there anything about losing that could be considered positive? I doubt that anyone will ever come to a mindset that they enjoy losing, or they look forward to losing. But I believe there is much to learn from it.

It is just a fact that in competition of any kind there will be a winner and a loser. The winner takes the trophy. The loser is mostly forgotten. But when a competitor reaches the final cut and ends up coming in second, this is a very notable accomplishment indeed. Yet, the pain and heart break from the second place "winner" is obvious, and some will completely break down after the fact. Note the 300 pound, muscular college football player sitting on the loser's bench at the end of a championship game with tears streaming down his face, or his head buried in a towel. He's inconsolable. He and his team were so good at their sport that they reached the finals and were notably one of the two best teams. Yet their hearts are broken. Should we teach ourselves to consider a loss in a different light, less painful, less distasteful, and a great learning and self-improvement tool? Maybe.

Let's get this straight. It's okay to be sorry if you lost. It's okay to be very sorry if you came in last. But, it is a very prideful thing to think that you should always be the winner. It is selfish, indeed, to not be happy for the winner when it's not you. I should be disappointed, and I know I could have done better, perhaps, but graciousness in losing is rare, and frankly, admirable.

I really like what Michael Jordan has said about losing. He has worked hard, and is arguably the best basketball player ever to play the game, and he regards the times that he failed to be some of his best teachers. Learning to win is easy, though we should be gracious in that, as the well. But, when we learn to lose with honor and thankfulness at what we have experienced, I believe the possibilities are endless in what we can accomplish in future. This applies to our jobs, school, relationships, and endless more places in our lives.

I have applied this thinking to my walk with Jesus Christ. He has forgiven me, saved me from eternal separation from God, and still I fall down. I know how to walk in Christ, but sometimes I make wrong choices, and sometimes, like a little child, I disobey. I could give up and quit because I failed Him, but I look at what and why my failure happened, I note what I can change, and I move on. 

Learning from the mistakes that make us losers make us just like Michael Jordan; it makes us winners. Celebrate your mistakes, they're part of the solution. Celebrate second place, it makes you one of the best. Teach your children how to lose.

******It should be noted here that, as much as I admire the accomplishments of Michael Jordan, I am of the opinion that Larry Bird is by far the very best pro-basketball player......ever. Just saying.

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