15
   

Losing Isn't Winning

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 01:48 am
Professional athletes have a handle on the losing/winning concept. If you don't win, you lose. Period. The end.

I watch a lot of competitions on tv. Not all competitors have a grasp of the concept of losing.

1. I didn't lose. The judges were wrong.
When you entered the competition, you must have understood that the judges' decision is final. You may not think you lost, but you did.

2. I didn't lose. The experience was wonderful. I'm a winner.
You may be a winner, but you're not the winner. Glad you enjoyed yourself

3. I didn't think I would do this well. I didn't think I would last this long. I've won.
No, you lost. Glad you exceeded your expectations of yourself.

Is there something going on that I don't know about? Are schools and families telling kids that they've won when they lost? Is there something wrong with losing? It's an inevitable part of life. If you compete, you're bound to lose.

Losing isn't wonderful. It's disappointing. But people need to be prepared for it and be willing to accept it.

What am I missing? Or are the people I'm seeing just not tuned in to reality. (I've seen this enough to be wonder about it.)

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Type: Question • Score: 15 • Views: 6,720 • Replies: 117

 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 06:33 am
@Roberta,
While I would agree that if you are a good losers, you are a loser, I must protest, that the idea given by most sport is wrong even though fans take it often in the correct way... It is communities that win or lose often by compromise in which all become winners; that is by the joining of forces and cultures against all comers... The idea of the winner as an individual or a loser as an individual is prominent, but properly disregarded... I mean, the fans will notice if a coach or a team player screws up, or is over the hill... It is some times possible to see a player sobbing in shame at the loss of a close game upon which his play lost... If it is that close, the game was already lost... To really triumph, victory must be complete... The balls and heads of the opposing players must hang on your mantlepiece to call yourself a winner, and more than a score is required... Behind every winning team is talent and money, and lots of both, with money buying talent... Money is behind most competition though it is cooperation that the world turns upon.... We would not have most sports contests and certainly no professional sports were it not for the theory of the individual which is the most failed notion ever put forward by humanity...

If you look at primitive society where communism was forced upon people as an economy, and equality with ones own was taken for granted, it was individualism that destroyed them... The primitive Celts and Germans, no matter their number, would fight as individuals to the death when the Romans no matter how few would narrow their front, and go round robbin against great numbers and win because they fought as an army and cooperated, and covered each other, and traded places with others when exhausted... Individual honor meant everything to the communists, and individual honor meant nothing to the Romans who fought as a mass for individual wealth and power...

Victory grows out of cooperation just as survival does... In life, it is corporations who triumph over individuals not only because they are immortal, but because they are made up of faceless, nameless people who surrender the very individualism they encourage in the society so that they can destroy one by one those who stand against them... Society should unite against those who combine to profit on them, but the theory of the individual prevents it... Individualism is the mark of low intelligence, and individuals mark themselves as artists, or slaves since alone no right can be defended...
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 06:57 am
@Roberta,
I think a lot of it is jogged along by producers. There are certain kinds of phrases that turn up a lot and that seem to be answers to questions. (Like, and this is not exact or anything, "What did you get out of this experience?" or "Mavis said that you're a sore loser, what's your response to that?")

They (the producers) want that moment where either you (the viewer) tear up and say "Awww, _____ was so sweet, I'm so sorry to see him or her go" or "Psssshhh, _____ was such a jerk, yeah right you're a 'winner,' in your dreams bro, don't let the door hit you...."
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 07:48 am
It's not so much about winning as it is about not losing. Consider the
word "loser", a simple enough word on its own. One who loses. That's
pretty much all of us at one time or another. But we've loaded that
little word up with a boatload of baggage. To be called a loser is to be
scorned, derided and despised. Thumb and index finger at a right angle
and held against the forehead. The new scarlet letter. No wonder they
find any way they can to call themselves winners.
boomerang
 
  4  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 07:59 am
@Roberta,
I think there is a lot to be gained from losing experiences. I think that when someone challenges themselves that they can feel like they won even though they didn't defeat the competition.

Separating performance (I lost) from person (I'm a loser) is a good thing to be able to do. Kids seem to have an especially hard time making this distinction. Sometimes it is stretched too far with the everyone gets a trophy mentality though.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 08:01 am
@Roberta,
Challenging yourself is a form of winning. If everyone has fun, isn't that the point of playing?

It's right there in the description: PLAYing. If you're getting upset about losing, then you're doing it wrong.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 08:03 am
@Roberta,
Quote:

Losing isn't wonderful. It's disappointing. But people need to be prepared for it and be willing to accept it.


This is very narrow view of the world. I don't buy it at all. The world is big and complex and you get to choose what is disappointing or not (and I often find I am happier when I choose not to be disappointed).

Let me give you a few world examples that break your black or white mold of winning or losing.

* I occasionally enter road races. I am a casual runner at best and I zero chance of winning. I run to be with friends. This makes me happy. Spending time with friends having fun is all the victory I need.

* I play chutes and ladders with my daughter. I don't try that hard to win (and sometimes I hope to lose because that makes things easier with a 5 year old). Making my daughter happy is all the victory I need.

* I play poker. In poker you are focused on the long term, not the short term. I have to win about 15% of the time to be profitable which means I am going to lose about 85% of the time. It sure feels good when I win, but if I am disappointed each time I lose I am not only going to lack the patience it takes to play well, but I am also not going to enjoy the game as a hobby.

The question is what is important to you. If I am on one of these silly TV shows I might very well enjoy the experience no matter what. Why not? I don't see any benefit to being miserable when you don't have to.

Life is not about winning and losing. It is about happiness, enjoyment and relationships. If I am happy, why should I let my success in a silly game interfere with that?
George
 
  5  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 09:12 am
@maxdancona,
Losing is disappointing if you are competing.

I run road races too. I am not competing against the elites, so no
disappointment. I am competing against what I think my time should be.
If I lose in that respect then I am disappointed.

I'm glad you're not disappointed when your daughter wins at chutes and
ladders. I'd hate to think you were competing with her.

In poker, you're competing -- but in the long term. If over time you were
continually losing, you'd be disappointed. And broke.

I like shooting hoops for fun, but I hate competing against anyone
who doesn't care.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 09:19 am
@Roberta,
I agree - but - having a child in intense competitions even when you lose, you learn something or get better as a result.

When her team loses (and her prior teams have been bad enough that they've lost alot) - I don't tell her hey you're still a winner, but I do focus on other things that at her age are more important. Like yes, they are a tough team, but you will only get better by playing against stronger competition.

But I agree - it shouldn't be - oh you won, because you played the best you can - no you still lost - you need to try even harder next time, you need to develop XYZ skill to beat this team, etc. You can take a positive from losing, but you do have to admit you lost.
Mame
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:00 am
@George,
George wrote:

It's not so much about winning as it is about not losing. Consider the
word "loser", a simple enough word on its own. One who loses. That's
pretty much all of us at one time or another. But we've loaded that
little word up with a boatload of baggage. To be called a loser is to be
scorned, derided and despised. Thumb and index finger at a right angle
and held against the forehead. The new scarlet letter. No wonder they
find any way they can to call themselves winners.


Oh great! Now the PC language police will change"loser" into something ridiculous and unrelated (like 'near-winner') and we won't be allowed to use that word anymore. Soon, "loser" will be such an insult we will be subject to censure if we use it. Next will come all the other "loser-like" words and we will only be allowed to use positive words. Ack.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:04 am
@Linkat,
I think some people (I am one) are just not competitive. My kids and I, and my sister and I, play 'cooperative Scrabble', for example. When my kids were little, we'd help each other with words for the board - "You can spell 'rat', but look, you can also spell 'crate'", type of thing. When my girlfriend and I played tennis or racquetball, I never cared - like maxa, I was there for the fun and the exercise; however, if we played for chores (I win, she mows my lawn), then I would turn it up and win Smile No way I was vacuuming her house!
George
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:08 am
@Mame,
Mame wrote:
Oh great! Now the PC language police will change"loser" into something
ridiculous and unrelated (like 'near-winner') and we won't be allowed to use
that word anymore. Soon, "loser" will be such an insult we will be subject to
censure if we use it. Next will come all the other "loser-like" words and we
will only be allowed to use positive words. Ack.

We're pretty close to that now. It's just a simple word, well-defined. But
try using it on someone. Hoo boy.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:14 am
@George,
Well, "loser" is generally used between friends as a joke, or as a serious putdown when talking about someone else. I've never heard anyone say it to another person unless they were friends and were joking.
George
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:16 am
@Mame,
You keep better company than I do.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:19 am
@Mame,
I'm amazed that you can describe winning and losing as zero-sum in one breath, and then turn around and describe non-zero-sum games.

If you're playing a zero-sum game - always a clear winner and loser in the game - it's perfectly acceptable to find ways in which the game helps you outside of the game.

Most of one's life is spent outside of the game.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:23 am
@Mame,
"Loser" is pejorative in most contexts.
Mame
 
  0  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:24 am
@DrewDad,
So is calling someone an asshole or a jerk, yet it's done all the time, so what's your point?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:25 am
@Mame,
Surely you don't mean the second place winner is the first place loser.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:37 am
@roger,
I don't understand why we have to label non-winners as anything. Someone won, he's the winner, that's it. Why concentrate on those who didn't win?

I have no problem with losing (or not winning lol) - as I said, I'm not very competitive, but for some people, it's their total focus. I can see it in competitive sports because that's the whole purpose, but in general life? Does it really matter if someone else is Employee of the Month? Or someone else sold more cars than you? Big deal.
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 10:49 am
@Mame,
I just disagree with the premise that because you lost the game you can't find positive things to focus on.

Maybe the offense sucked but the defense was great. Maybe you came in second even though you were seeded 15th.

Everyone competes for their own reasons. There's no need to tell someone that they can't be happy about their performance just because they didn't win the top spot.
 

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