Losing It

Did you know, that about 70% of the UK plays the lottery regularly? Everyone wants to win, even those who don’t even participate! The thing about winning though, is that many must lose for some to win. In some games, or in our case at the SCA, for some briefs – there can be only one winner. The rest of us must lose and losing isn’t fun. It has only been three weeks and some of us have faced a string of losses.

“Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.”

It doesn’t feel awesome to talk about losing but when there is only one winning team, most of the cohort have faced defeat. So, it is important to understand what ‘not winning’ feels like and how to cope with it. The most natural way to deal with loss is to rationalise it and deflect the blame onto factors that are not in one’s control. This might help us feel better about ourselves in the short term, but it stops us from growing.

Losing makes us sad, it affects us both psychologically and physiologically. There is a reason for this, our ancestors needed to survive by winning against wild animals and rival tribes. So, instinctively we are not built to accept a defeat lightly. On the flip side, we get a kick out of winning. In a study, mice showed higher levels of testosterone each time they won, which also made them more likely to win future fights, known as the ‘winner effect’. Testosterone in turn increases the dopamine which influences feelings of reward and motivation. This may be why; the human civilisation thrives on political battles.

“Winning not only feels better; it seems, winners also live longer! Academy Award-winners live on average, four years longer than other actors.”

As Marc said, there is always next time! Losing is not the final judgement if you don’t want it to be. Losing gives us the opportunity to reflect on where we can improve and bounce back even stronger. It is not until we fail that we can identify the path to success. So here are some tips to soften the blow:

  1. Avoid negative self-talk:  When we repeatedly fail to win, it may affect our confidence, and this could lead us to thinking that ‘we just can’t do it’. These are unhelpful thoughts, and we shouldn’t let them define us.
  2. Know you are not alone: Your pain is neither unique nor special. Every person who has ever run a race has experienced the pain of losing. Sure, everyone’s experience may be different, and everyone has a varying degree of emotion, but we are all in the same journey together.
  3. Remember your north star: Being engrossed in a brief, could make it seem like there isn’t anything else more important in the world. If you find yourself ruminating when you lose, stop, and remind yourself of the bigger picture and focus on your north star.

“You are not defeated when you LOSE, you are defeated when you QUIT!”


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