Sunday, July 23, 2006
lessons in losing and winning
i have always been competitive. and so it took a long time for me to be a gracious loser. maybe it is in our genes, as i know my dad and his siblings don't like losing, and half of my cousins are sore losers. maybe because a lot has been expected of all of us. thus, since i always try to be diligent and give it my best, LOSING IS SO PAINFUL! when i lose a game, i have to play gracious but i am very upset with myself inside. i can't let it go and i sulk for days.
lately, i realized there are so many valuable lessons in losing. for one, i learned that since losing deflates my inflated ego, i am forced to learn humility--that i am not better than anyone else. nor are they better than me. it's just a matter of consequence, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. i learned also that there are many factors to winning: practice, spirit, and surrender.
in the last badminton tournaments, i felt ready to win. badminton is a fast-paced game requiring quick reflexes and quick thinking. it's funny how a tournament changes your game. and in the first touney, i was just stunned, plainly reactive, with no strategy. i didn't use what i knew, i just blacked-out! i lost so miserably and couldn't talk for days!
i asked the Lord why i lost when i tried my best. i heard His answer to be something like this: if you play to win, you will be very sad to lose. if you play to do your best and have fun, you will not feel very bad to lose. . .
so i pondered that divine point for many weeks, loosening my grip on wanting to win period. playing a game can be enjoyable and winning may not be the ultimate goal. in a game, i learn more about myself--how far i can push, how ruthless/kind i can be, how bad i feel when i am bullied, thus how compassionate i am towards beginners. i also am beginning to learn strategy and execute the shots i want to do, when i want to, how to share the strategy with my partner, how to cheer him on, how to cooperate. i also learn not to take it out on myself (nor my partner) when we are not of the same skill level because even then, there are lessons to be learned.
in the end, it may not be about winning or competition --but of more evolved values like sharing and cooperation.
this way, defeat means learning and victory is doubled because it is shared.
i want to turn sour grapes into sweet grapes so i will quote GARY ZUKAV author of SEAT OF THE SOUL:
"You lose power whenever your fear. The road to authentic power is always through what you feel, through your heart. Therefore, it is never appropriate to disregard what you feel. . .
Humble spirits are free to love and to be who they are. They have no artificial standards to live up to. They are not drawn to the symbols of external power (i.e: medals). This does not mean that they do not take pride in what they can do well. .
To compete means to strive for something in company or together, to seek after winning something with others. If the something you aim for for is prestige or a gold medals, it is your personality that is motivating the competition. You are striving to empower yourself, to assert your superiority, at the expense of others. You place your sense of self-worth in the hands of others. You have no power even if you win every gold medal the world can produce."
in this most recent tourney, my team lost but i must say, i played one of the best games yet. i am so aware of what i want to do because my focus is not to win but how to play well. i am so aware of my partners--some black-out, too or get angry at themselves, some put effort at working together. but i played a most spectacular game with my parnter, harry. we cheered each other on and kept positive. all we committed to each other was to try our best, and harry stayed in front. WE WON! and i will not forget that game ever.
and so i will continue to practice and keep my spirits positive--only now, i don't measure myself against someone else's standards. i will have to learn how to surrender that maybe winning is destined--depends on when you have earned it. (and only HE can say).
FOR THERE ARE WAY MORE LESSONS TO LEARN IN LOSING THAN IN WINNING.
i am learning that there are many end goals to a game: playing your best, a chance to test your unused personality traits, teamwork, cooperation--all of which are quite enjoyable.
my self-esteem is unhooked from just winning because i refuse to be defined by the game. the old saying "win or lose, it's how you play the game," has become profound.
let's go play!