Everyone fails. Michael Jordan, Oprah, you, me. Everyone. The difference between regular people and great people is how they deal with the defeat. In this post I want to look at how to deal with defeat like a professional.
See defeat as a positive
“Defeat should never be a source of discouragement but rather a fresh stimulus.” – Robert South.
This is not always easy to do but it is one of the most common things that famous, rich, great and successful people cite when asked about how they got to where they are. They all say they see defeat as a positive.
When you see defeats as a positive you are opening yourself up to the fact that you still have a lot to learn. It won’t drag you down and you will move on from the event to bigger and brighter futures.
See defeat as inevitable
“It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated…it is finished when it surrenders.” – Ben Stein
The next thing you need to do is realize that no matter who you are, what industry you are in and how good you are at what you do you are always going to experience some defeats. It might not happen every day but it will happen. No one in the world has lived their whole life without ever being defeated at what they do.
When you see it as being inevitable you are preparing yourself subtly for when it happens. This way you will not be surprised and you will be able to gather yourself quickly and effectively.
See defeat as a learning opportunity
“I learned much more from defeat than I ever learned from winning” – Anonymous
When asked how he got so good at boxing Muhammad Ali replied that for three seconds after making every mistake he thought about it, re did the move and then moved on. This is smart.
If you see defeat as a learning opportunity you will grow and change and be able to prepare for the next time you are defeated. If you refuse to learn from it the only thing that will happen is that you will get upset and probably lose some cash. That’s it. If, however, you figure out how it happened, why it happened and how you can prevent it from happening again then you will be turning the defeat into something truly meaningful.
See defeat as impermanent
“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant
Nothing lasts. Not even defeat. The emotional feelings that come with defeat also do not last. Move on.
If you get weighed down by your defeat you will not be able to move on. If you realize that it is not going to last, however, you will not be as emotionally affected and you will be prepared to re-gather as soon as it is over.
See defeat as a mere concept
When you read about great people who have had defeats in their life they always seem to view defeat differently. This leads me to believe that defeat is not actually an inherently existing entity. It can be transformed. Defeat is only defeat if you consider it so. If, however, you choose to view defeat in a different light you will realize that “defeat” is only a mere concept, a label, and has no lasting reality to it at all.
Study history’s defeats
If you want to learn more ways to deal with defeat it is a really good idea to look at the major defeats in history. When we study these historical events we can take away important lessons about what to do and what not to do. You might want to look at some major defeats like that which happens to a country at war or some more minor defeats like that which happens to a famous person in their career.
If you know of any stories or have links to some interesting defeats then please leave a comment and let us know.
Originally posted on May 25, 2008 @ 3:04 am