Lets begin with a basic fact that winning or losing is subjective and momentary. This cannot be the basis of one’s existence and it definitely cannot be the grounds to brand someone. I’ll come back to sports in a bit but in the larger scheme of things, in life, one will win some and lose some. It’s not pragmatic to expect a win all the time. Every victory helps you grow in confidence while defeat teaches you humility and the importance of having the right spirit! Failure inspires and motivates you to do better the next time, to succeed.
Mood: Winning elevates your mood and keeps you in a positive frame of mind. This improves performance and aids in producing physical energy. Losing on the other hand gives rise to negative emotions and saps energy. People are receptive to energy and hence many a time you will notice winners being surrounded by more people. One just needs to be mindful that losing a game is not the end of the road. Once the game is over one needs to immediately be able to switch gears and find peace and try to be in a good frame of mind.
Learning: Win or lose, there is always some learning. When you lose it’s easy to get defensive and shun away negative feedback. On the flip side, winners could have a know-it-all attitude which could also be highly detrimental. It’s important to be open to feedback, no matter how harsh it be. A key ingredient to being a winner is being open to discussions and voluntarily accept mistakes and negative feedback.
Blame and credit: When you win its vital to remember that there were others who were responsible for your victory. Credit is to be given where it is due! There will always be a partner or a coach or a team without whose support winning would merely be a dream. Giving someone credit will only strengthen relationships and help everyone to continue working towards bigger and better things, and achieve higher goals. Losing can lead to assigning blame on others, situations, circumstances, various factors etc. This is a sign of weakness and one should be bigger and stronger than that. Instead of finding someone to blame for the defeat one should try to analyse the game in a positive manner and try to better oneself and work towards self improvement and uplift the team.
One must always be graceful in defeat!
Distractions: A win requires a certain amount of focus. Avoiding distractions could aid an individual or a team in winning. Getting distracted would mean losing sight of the target or straying off the path to victory. Post a victory, one has to stay focussed and remember that it’s just another victory in the kitty and many more to come. It’s easy to get complacent after a win.
Self-Belief: Winning reassures you of your capability and talent while losing makes you doubt yourself at times. It’s important to never doubt oneself. When you win, it’s easy to get arrogant and let the victory go to your head, this is the perfect recipe for disaster. Losing can push you into a shell and make you doubt everything and make you look for answers. While there is nothing wrong in looking for answers, its best to take the defeat in your stride and move on. Never stop believing in yourself. Keep at it and work hard, success shall be yours.
Attitude and mutual respect: Winning and losing are temporary. He who wins today could lose tomorrow, if not to the same opponent then someone else. It’s the attitude that matters. When you win, don’t rub it into the faces of those who lost. Always remember that the result could have been different and treat those you defeated the way you would like to be treated when you lose.
Giving it your all: Irrespective of the result, a true sportsman should fight till the end. Its possible that your best efforts don’t result in victory but knowing that you gave it your all is what matters. A winning attitude is not exactly winning a game but the spirit in which the game is played. Losing a game can lower the morale but it cannot be allowed to break your spirit.
Let me close with these famous words from Michael Jordan:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”