Losing With Grace

success as failure

When you watch something like the World Athletics Championships, it’s clear that there are fewer winners than there are competitors.

In some evens there are several heats, three or four semi finals, before the final, meaning that in many evens there are well over 30 competitors of whom only one will win the Gold medal and be declared the winner.

For the rest they, there is the agony of defeat, and it’s how we react to 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%, 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 more angry 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 every thing we do – to put ourselves in the best position possible, to give our best performance.

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

Gordon Tredgold

Leadership Principles