Knowing how to handle defeats and mistakes properly is very important. When we lose we have the opportunity to evaluate the reasons that led us to that situation and correct some aspects to improve.

In this article we’ll see how to learn to lose so that failing doesn’t represent an absolute failure for the subject and doesn’t lead to a feeling of frustration that blocks or paralyzes us. And the fact is that although people usually link defeat with failure, this does not necessarily have to be the case.

Why is it important to know how to lose?

Before we go on to give advice about learning to lose, let’s see how important this aspect is in our daily lives.

No one escapes defeat , even in everyday life it is common for us to have to face small situations where we do not reach our goals as planned. For example, the fact that we arrive very late to a place as a result of traffic and therefore lose a promotion in favor of another worker, can lead us to feel very bad and cause us more problems as a result of our anger and frustration.

Contrary to what many people think, the fact that we have lost does not mean that we have failed. It just means that there are aspects of us that need to be worked on to become better , or that someone else did things better than us at a particular time, just that.

The faster we change our perception of defeat and stop seeing it as failure, the closer we come to achieving the best version of ourselves.

Tips for learning to lose constructively

Now let’s look at some effective tips for changing the way we view failure, so we can learn to lose.

1. Leave frustration behind

It is natural that when we lose we are overcome by a sense of frustration that we have not met our expectations, but we must learn to leave this feeling behind quickly. Turning the page and getting back on track is a key aspect .

This is not to say that when we lose we will simply carry on as if nothing had happened, but that we should avoid investing too much time in our frustration, and instead spend our resources on seeing what has gone wrong to correct it.

To do this, writing down a sequence of steps to follow and committing to a certain schedule or calendar is very helpful.

2. Accept things as they happened

A fundamental aspect of managing defeat is to see things as they really happened, and avoid manipulating the memories in our minds with the intention of “protecting” us from the feeling of frustration .

It is inevitable that defeat will be unpleasant, but the sooner you have dealt with that feeling, the sooner you will be ready to go in search of victory again. In other words, the fact that you excuse yourself from talking about winning will not make you victorious. It’s better to accept defeat, learn from it, and get up.

3. Avoid hostile reactions

The feeling of frustration we feel after losing in some aspect of our lives can lead us to have hostile reactions, this situation would only make our situation worse. It is best to recognise our feeling and modulate it appropriately , so that it does not slow down our progress.

The recognition of emotions is an aspect that helps us to bring out the positive in the worst situations, when we have been able to recognize and accept our true emotions we are less likely to have unconsciously hostile reactions.

So, for example, you can set up work rituals so that when you feel bad about a certain mistake you can use that feeling as motivation to progress .

4. Give more importance to the process

The fact of winning represents the achievement of a process in which we had to prepare ourselves to compete, or in its absence implies that we planned to do things in a certain way to achieve specific results. Therefore, knowing how to lose has to enter into the logic of admitting that this error was not inevitable , and that we could have done more things to get better results.

The training or planning process is as important and rewarding as the victory itself, only when we lose we don’t think about how much we enjoy the training or planning process.

That is why you should not give all the glory to the fact of winning , because there is already glory in the fact of competing with others or with oneself. Learn to focus more on the process without being affected by the anxiety of winning, and you will see how everything comes out more naturally and smoothly.

5. Avoid the role of the favorite

Even if the circumstances are in your favour to win , the role of favourite does not always favour the one who has it. In fact, starting with the idea that we have a better chance of winning represents in most cases a double-edged sword.

It is not wrong to have confidence in ourselves and our abilities, but we must avoid falling into complacency in order to have a better vision of the challenges we will face. If you see yourself as the best and the one who has every chance of winning, that could lead you to underestimate your rivals and overestimate your capabilities. And when you lose, it will be harder to recover emotionally .

6. Avoid tunnel thinking

Tunnel thinking refers to the fact that we only think about winning, and are unable to look at the other possibilities. This type of thinking is harmful, considering that we will not always be able to come out victorious. There will be times when we get a draw, or a defeat.

If you are able to preview all these scenarios in your mind before you compete, then you will be a more realistic competitor and you will be better prepared to contest the victory without letting it obsess you completely .

7. Avoid stigmatization

Stigma is a way of thinking in which the subject is radical when analyzing things; it is “all or nothing”, there are no middle points. We must be able to realize when we are going too far in our way of seeing things and combat those thoughts in order to have better results.

Bibliographic references:

  • Branden, N. (1995). The six pillars of self-esteem. Barcelona: Paidós.
  • Greenberg, J. (2008). Understanding the vital human quest for self-esteem. Perspectives on Psychological Science. 3 (1): 48–55.