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).


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!


Elvis E-A said...

Maybe you should share this with the ggbc yahoogroups. I am sure so many feel the same way you do.

This last tournament gave me a lesson of hope. Down 14-8, I learned to surrender it all and just trust in whatever outcome may be. It was an interesting situation I was in with Rick. We did not talk about any strategy, we did not practice together, we just talked of what we wanted to accomplish and adjust our game to each other and to the situation.

When it came down to crunch time, there was a very calming feeling, that feeling of surrender and I just said, Bahala na. Lo and behold, we came back and won it.

So we can never underestimate ourselves, thinsgs happen for a reason and funny how I was confident of the other two games and we lost. The game i was not sure about was the best played ever, just like you.

When we have hope, ready to buckle down and just work at it, things get accomplished and that is the best feeling pala !

Oh ya.. and it helps when we are a little more fit. The twice a week I think paid off for us =)

minotte's notes said...

Hi Minotte,

Thank you so much for sharing you incredible
"self-exploration and discovery" journey. I, too,
don't typically feel good when I lose. I have taken
losses personally in the past...thinking it was God's
way of punishing me for something or it was a reminder
that "others may be better than me." As I explored
this experience more and more, I began to see "themes"
that played out in my life. One theme was that how I
handled loss or not getting something I wanted (i.e. a
job promotion) was very dependent on how I was feeling
about myself that day/week/month. If my self-esteem
was low during that timeframe, I tended to magnify
loss/falling short of goals as testimonials that I was
not as good or deserving as others. Needless to say,
when I reacted this way, I unconsciously shut out some
of the incredible "gifts" to be received during "loss"
or not getting what I "thought" I wanted. Some of
these gifts included: learning how to play better in
the long run by changing bad habits, learning more
about myself and how I handle pressure, learning that
I needed to practice more in order to be more skilled,
learning how to be gracious and dignified even if
things don't go my way, learning to "look inside" and
take accountability for what I owned that led to the
outcomes (i.e. lack of fitness, not practicing, no
strategy, not aligning with my teammate, or not really
wanting the job but simply the pay/title, etc...).

I'm getting much better with all "games" (of life, at
work, badminton, etc...). I have changed my objectives
(badminton is to help me become fit, have fun with
people with a common interest, build new friendships,
and have a good stress relief outlet).

You're a great partner. We have very good chemistry -
we play hard, we take responsibility, we root for each
other, we don't point fingers, we celebrate, we laugh,
and we deliver.


Senor Enrique said...

Awwright! Another badminton player!

Got into it more seriously last May and have been addicted to it since :) However, I am yet to play my first tournament. I'm more into developing my basic skills and gaining the confidence so I could at least be graceful with my every stroke. That has always been important to me in any sports I had been involved with (skiing, tennis, and etc.) -- to be graceful as if dancing, really :)

Perhaps, someday soon, I will join tournaments to better my game but for now I'm enjoying badminton immensely even if just playing with my trainer.

Gary Zukav's "Seat of the Soul" is another important book for me, which I learned much from. I already knew of him back in the '70s when he released Dancing with the Wu Li Masters and was totally surprised that Seat of the Soul was his also so I bought it. I was so happy for him when Oprah began talking about his book and had him on her show (twice already, right?). I've always admired Oprah but having Gary on her show endeared her to me even more.

Addiction is one of the many elucidating topics in Seat of the Soul, because I was once a serious nicotine addict (I blogged about it -

Although I had already quit when I first read the book, I still gained much wisdom about addictions. Seat of the Soul actually speaks directly to the heart.

I'm adding you to my link page!

Enjoy your day!


minotte's notes said...

update: i will have to acknowledge the precious lessons i have learned. now, i am not afraid to lose. i have played games where i lost but had so much fun. i have elevated to the level it's how you play the game. after, all it is a game.

sometimes you lose and sometimes you win, as in life. winning is exhilirating. but losing teaches tenacity, will, humility--these cannot be taught by school or parents, but by life.

i am so blessed that i learned by playing. hard knocks would have been a stern teacher.