I don’t always feel like a strong person. Hell, 99.9% of the time I am scared out of my mind. I’m trying out so many new things in my life that it honest to God freaks me out to the point where I sometimes just don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Oh, I wouldn’t change a single thing; I’ve just gotten somewhat used to the terror.
And that’s okay.
Being afraid puts you in that flight or fight mode the majority of the time. I’m usually ready to fight, but I have been known to retreat to live to fight another day. Cliché, I know but entirely true. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve thrown up the white flag. I learn a lot with each defeat; perhaps more than any victory has taught me.
But no one wants to hear about battles lost now do they? We all want to cheer for the hero who would not exist were it not for the loser. No conqueror would enter the city triumphant without a conquered. No victor without a vanquished. We need our losers. They define what a winner is.
And while I don’t like to think of myself as a loser, I do like to think that I have some the qualities of a loser. Losers are important. They teach us a lot.
But what do they teach us?
Losers teach us that everyone believes in something. Right or wrong, every person has beliefs. Even those who end up on the losing end believed in their cause. They’ve given their all for what was most precious to them. That’s admirable. Beliefs are what keep us going and, win or lose; it’s what keeps us fighting on.
Losers teach also teach us to fight even when the odds are against us. We’ve all seen the 300. We know the odds were stacked heavily against them. But we cheered the Spartans on anyway. Losers oftentimes know they can’t win. They see that the battle is nearly lost before it’s begun but they take a stand anyway. And they usually stand with others who are just as equally committed to the fight. It’s inspiring to watch.
Being a loser myself, I’ve learned humility. I’ve learned that when I lose, I find myself. I’m a little more sensitive to the plight of others. I learn that I’m not the center of the universe and that others will often come before me. And through that humility, I become more human. I like being human. I like connecting with the human plight. To know and to be one with those who are considered lowly means to join in a mass swell of humanity who have nothing to lose. Most winners were once losers who had run out of options. That gives me hope.
After having lost — sometimes several times — losers learn to try harder. They are more determined and more focused on what needs to be accomplished. It doesn’t always happen the second, third or even fourth time, but by God, eventually losers will win. Crawling over past mistakes and defeat, bloody knees and nails broken to the quick to reach a little further each time, the loser will emerge victorious. This builds my strength.
And sometimes I, as a loser, just have to learn to accept what I can’t change. There are battles out there I’m never going to win. And being able to adjust and adapt will make me a winner in the long run. After all, isn’t it the unyielding who are ultimately toppled? The supple and willowy will shift and sway to accommodate what is thrown at it. The things I cannot change, I will learn to live with. I will not allow it to ruin my life but will make it an acceptable part of it. And it’s those things that excite me.
Losing makes me smarter. I hone and sharpen my wits to better my odds of winning. I learn from my mistakes and I store that knowledge for the next challenge. Winners don’t have the advantage of learning from mistakes. Losers have the opportunity to try again with gained perspective and intelligence that only losing could have brought them. Being a lover of knowledge, I look forward to the occasional set back if by doing so I gain a wealth of it.
Losers learn pretty damn quick who to trust and who not to. It’s not hard really to figure out when you’re on your knees. The guys with the swords are the ones you don’t trust. Those who are extending a hand to help you up are the good guys. The world becomes pretty black and white pretty fast: enemy and ally; really no one in between. And maybe the most important person a loser needs to trust is themselves. To rely on oneself is maybe the most valuable lesson learned. To look in the mirror and think “I’ve got this” and you know it’s just you and you alone is empowering. It’s what turns losers into winners.
So losers are just winners who haven’t won yet. But they will. And oh how sweet that victory will be. I want to leave you with a quote. I can’t remember where I saw it or even who to attribute it to. It could be a proverb or I’ve could have seen it on a fortune cookie but it’s sums up a loser in a simple sentence.
Fall down seven times; get up eight.
Peace and joy; learn from losing. Namaste babies.