4 powerful lessons that losing taught me

America is a country that highly values winning. Sometimes it feels like winning is more important than how you play the game in the United States. Our society is fixated on winning. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to win. After all, who enters a competition hoping to lose? Our hearts are inclined towards winners. We put winners on the cover of cereal boxes.   When the victory is great, we throw tickertape parades for the winners.

Most people want to win… every time.  We want to win at everything that we attempt.  I one to win as much as the next person. I’ve stood on the winner’s platform a time or two. I’ve been decorated for success on occasion.  However, losing taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life. When I look back over the greatest lessons that I learned, some of the greatest lessons in life came when I failed to make it to victory lane.  Here are a few of those powerful life lessons that losing taught me:

There’s beauty in the endeavor

I’ve got some bad news for you- you’re not perfect.  No one bats 1.000.  Everyone misses a shot from time-to-time. Because nobody’s perfect, we’re all going to strike out from time to time. We’re all going to experience times in life when we have to back up and punt because circumstances didn’t turn out the way we expected them to. Because were not perfect I’ve learned to respect men and women who we’re willing to take great risks.

Sometimes people fail to attempt great things because there is the strong possibility that it may not work out in their favor. Losing has taught me the beauty of taking a risk even when you don’t know how things will turn out. Some of my most memorable life lessons came when I failed spectacularly.  It was during those times that I had to decide if I was going to pick myself up, dust myself off and get back in the game. These life lessons taught me to respect the men and women who take the risk not knowing how the game is going to end.

The power of forgiveness

Since nobody is perfect.  We all need forgiveness and we’re all going to have to offer forgiveness.  I can’t tell you how many times I have made colossal mistakes in my life. And because I’m not perfect, I have had to look people that I love deeply in the eyes and ask for their forgiveness. It’s humbling to have to admit when you’ve messed up. These moments gave me an ability to offer forgiveness when somebody else has hurt me.

Forgiveness is powerful in human relationships. It helps not just the offender but also the offended. Losing at relationships can be some of the most painful experiences a human will ever experience. Sometimes, it can be very hard to forgive a person that has hurt you deeply. If you’re not careful you will start to shut the world off. My mistakes and failures taught me the need for forgiveness. My mistakes and failures also taught me that need to be willing to forgive others. This is a lesson that just doesn’t come to the person who always wins no matter the circumstances.

How to respect the journey

Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.  It’s in the journey that people find out some thing about themselves. Think about the last time you went on a long road trip. Most people don’t endure days or hours of driving in less the destination is worth it. However, if you think back to some of those long road trips the journey was just as important as the destination. The journey is part of the ride.

During long road trips we experience things and see sites that would never happen otherwise. These long road trips remind us of the importance of the journey not just the destination. They teach us to respect the process not just the results.  Some of these great lessons in life only come through a process of hard work. Of course, the destination is important. But the destination becomes all the more enjoyable when you’ve gone through a lot of hard work to get there.  The journey is part of what makes the destination enjoyable.

Some things are more important that winning

The people who live with a “win at all cost” mentality are actually cheating themselves. You know the kind… These are the people that will stab you in the back to get ahead in life. These are the people who will cut others down to make themselves look good. This kind of person is dangerous to themselves and everyone around them.

Learning to value relationships over accomplishments is a life lesson that only losing can teach you. Sometimes the cost of winning is too great to pay. Sometimes the relationships that will be destroyed in the process just aren’t worth it. This is one of those hard lessons in life to learn. I respect anyone who is willing to sacrifice their own personal or professional accomplishments for the ones that they love. This is a life lesson worth learning.  

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