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Win Even When You Lose: 5 simple reminders and tips

Updated on May 8, 2013

Seldom does a day go by where something didn’t go our way. While most of these subtle defeats go unnoticed, at times they can take their toll like a rock hitting your windshield. For the most part, they bounce right off, but every so often, one seems to crack through and chip away at our self-confidence.

It’s easy to fall prey into the role of the victim and blame your defeats on something or someone else, but if that is your natural response, you’re missing out on the opportunities to turn a loss into a win. It is from our defeats that we learn and grow and become better people. It’s all about perception.

Sure some defeats take a bit longer to snap out of, but as I say, practice makes perfect. If you practice with the small, petty defeats, when something significant comes around, you’ll pull yourself out of it quicker.

You can magnify your problem, or magnify the lesson, but whatever we magnify, our thinking and perceptions will follow.

Take a job interview for instance. You finally find the job you want, spend hours researching, preparing your resume only to find you’re missing a key attribute they are looking for. For some, this can be a defeating experience. We can take it personally as if it’s a knock against our accomplishments and qualifications. But therein lies the opportunity and lesson. For one, you’ve learned that maybe you are missing something and at least now know it is important. Like a CPA license for instance. Many accounting professional thinks they can continue to climb the ladder without it, and for some, they can, but for others, they’ve heard time and time again that their ideal job is only interviewing candidates that are certified. If you are ok with the rejection and satisfied to pass on your vision, by all means, keep on looking. But for some, they recognize that they are deficient, pick up the skills or attributes they need and try again. But how do you recognize when it isn’t personal, or even if it is, how do you not make it personal.

Tip 1: 1 in 7 Billion is Hardly Unique

In much of life, we have a choice, but remember this: we are one of 7 billion people on this earth. Not very many things we experience are unique just to us, so stop thinking oh whoa is me. Hundreds, thousands, millions of people have, and will be in your shoes. Stop thinking it is so extraordinary and worthy of stopping your world from spinning. Think of that A-hole who cut you off on the highway…certainly not the first, won’t be the last. Let it go. Or that girlfriend boyfriend who broke your heart and left or cheated on you. Won’t be the first, won’t be the last, let it go.

Tip 2: The Best Revenge is Living Well

Don’t get even. Getting even is wasted time and energy and taking you deeper and further away from coming out the other side. It prolongs the defeat and keeps you the victim. In order to win, you can’t defeat yourself by trying to play on the same unequal level. You’re life is too important to let other people, living in the microcosm to get at you.

Tip 3: Stop Figuring Out Who’s Fault it is and Recognize Your Part

Be willing to admit you may have had a part in it. We aren’t perfect, heck, I sure like to think I am, but I know that if something is happening around me or to me, chances are I may have had something to do with it. Maybe not directly, but circumstances are within our realm of decision making and our actions like rushing things, procrastinating, shot-cutting, etc all have a trickle down effect in our lives. The example that comes to mind for is, a time in my life where I was living in a neighborhood that I knew to be somewhat less than safe, but I was there because as any young professional, saving a buck or two sometimes seems like a good cause. Not paying much attention to my surrounds, I’m walking around on a nice warm evening, talking on my phone when without paying attention to my surroundings, someone snuck up behind me and put a gun to my head. Frightening yes, but did I have a part in this? For the quick trigger emotional responder, the common response would be heck no. That wasn’t your fault. But I’m not pointing out faults here, I’m pointing out that fault is irrelevant. Did I have a part in this? Yes. I knew the facts going in and made the decision I made. I certainly learned my lesson, and turned this into a victory, because I can guarantee you, I won’t be putting myself in a similar situation as long as I live.

Tip 4: Perception Perception Perception

Is the glass half full or empty, but more importantly, what size is the glass you are looking at. A half full shot glass makes no dent in a half empty big gulp. All to often we surrender the same emotional response to something small as if it were something big. Whenever I’m in an argument with my girlfriend, which is rare, but when it does happen, I always say 2 things 1) I love you. I never lose sight of the fact that I am choosing to be in this relationship and be with this person because as a human being I respect, and appreciate her involvement in my life, and 2) Is this topic or issue so significant that 10 years from now it will have changed my course in life? 9.999 times out of ten, those two phrases puts things in perspective so we can then calmly unwind the emotion and argument and then (tip 3), recognize that we each played a part in it. Like the famous quote: “Don’t magnify the small stuff, it’s all small stuff”.

Tip 5: It's Not as Much About You as it is the Other Person

When you’re driving to work and you get cut-off, and the person keeps jumping from lane to lane. Pat yourself on the back, because you planned ahead and aren’t in a situation where you need to rush and be a jerk on the road. When you’re finding a parking spot and someone comes up the other side and steal s your spot, commend yourself for not getting upset, recognizing that your life is more important than claiming a victory so small as to steal someone’s spot. Seriously, when someone does small things to nit pick and get one up one you, how petty must their lives be. They likely know they are doing it and do it anyway. They don’t have bigger fish to fry? You do, so don’t give it the time of day. (tip 2: don’t get even). These are petty examples, but think about the co-worker who always gives you a hard time, or the family member who always puts you down. Are they putting you down, or are they acting out of their own deficiencies. Most often when someone tries to hurt us, or demean us, it isn’t because we are deserving of it, it is because they haven’t grown enough emotionally to resolve their own issues and lashing out at you in its infancy, is as juvenile as their emotional state. What is that they say about hater’s? They probably wish they could be you, or at least not themselves.

Be Yourself

Be yourself, and take pride in handling your defeats in stride with a victors attitude. Life is too short to play the victim and give time of thought and emotion to the things in lives that are other peoples issues to resolve. We don’t have to solve the worlds problems, or even understand why someone or something happens. As an adult, we have the choice to react and respond according to how we want our lives to be. If you want a life of peace and harmony, getting upset about the small stuff directly contradicts what you want and you’ll live an impatient and stressful life. Go with the flow, roll with the punches and be yourself, the you, you want to become.


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