How We React To Defeat, Is What Defines Us

When watching the World Athletics Championships, it is evident that there are fewer winners than competitors.

Some events have multiple heats, three or four semi-finals, and a final, which means that in many events, with well over 30 contestants, only one of them will win the Gold medal and be chosen as the winner.

For the rest, there is the agony of defeat, and it’s how we react to a defeat that really defines us.

Are we poor losers: do we rant and rage against ourselves, the umpires the other competitors; do we become more determined to do better next time; or do we accept defeat with grace?

I know myself, that if I have done my best, given 110%, and left all of my energy on the playing field, then I know that I have been beaten by a better opponent, whilst I might not be happy to lose, I am happy with my performance.

Under these circumstances, I can accept defeat with grace and dignity.

It’s when I know in my heart that I could have done better; I could have prepared more; I could have given 10% more effort; that I find it hardest to accept defeat. But in these times I am angrier with myself than the people who beat me, or who succeed, where I could have succeeded.

It’s amazing how many of the athletes achieve Personal Bests, they push themselves to new limits as they try to win, reaching the peak of their performance.

Win or lose, they can go home with their heads held high, with respect, maybe disappointed that they didn’t win, but knowing they did the utmost, their best.

We owe it to ourselves – in everything we do – to put ourselves in the best position possible, to give our best performance.

We may not always win, and there may always be someone better, but at least we can be happy with ourselves and how we performed.

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