Why Losing is a Better Gift than Winning

In my opinion, losing is a better gift that winning, especially when it comes to children in sports.  I know…I know…this sounds crazy, but stay with me here and gain some perspective on this.

When a child wins, they are on top of the world.  Every child does deserve to feel what it’s like to win, but how good is the feeling of winning if you haven’t experienced losing?  The fact is, we need the negative life brings us for many, many reasons, one of which is to truly appreciate when the positive occurs.  Without actually experiencing the downside of things, you can’t truly appreciate the upside of things.  For instance, if winning happens all the time, it dilutes the emotional joy winning should provide.  In many cases, winning constantly, or having positive things happen all the time, takes a healthy work ethic away.  Winning constantly, and having positive things happen all the time also create a feeling of entitlement, which, if a healthy work ethic isn’t in place, and you’re not earning all that positivity, can be extremely dangerous, especially for children.  Consider the fact that we hear many people talk about the current group of kids coming out of college.  When speaking about them, they talk about the word “entitlement“.  They explain that kids fresh out of college have a sense of entitlement like no other prior generation, and that sense of entitlement is what truly hurts these kids, and hurts their chances at getting, and keeping, jobs.  If you want to correlate this to sports, consider how difficult it is to maintain being the best team.  Sure, you can look at organizations such as the Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s or the 2000’s New England Patriots, but can you even fathom how difficult it was for these teams to stay on top of their sports for such an extended period of time?!  It’s remarkable because statistics, and history, will tell us that once you’re on top, not only is everyone chasing you, and bringing their very best game, in order to beat you, but human beings don’t usually have the same work ethic, nor motivation, to stay on top, once it has been achieved.  That is why, most of the time, you don’t see sports teams repeating their championship runs.


Don’t confuse what I’m saying

Based on me saying that kids coming out of college have a sense of entitlement, I am not saying all kids are like this.  But this is something I hear a lot from trusted and successful business owners.  They are the ones making the decisions.  They are the ones doing the hiring.  This is the perspective they have.  So, if we look at kids coming out of college, and we look at having a sense of entitlement, we need to get to the root cause of where that sense of entitlement came from, in order to find a solution for it.  Doing simple math, we can decipher that some kids have a sense of entitlement when they come directly out of college, and we base this on feedback from business owners, large and small.  But where did that sense of entitlement come from?  In many cases, it can go back to two things:  the way they were raised, and the competitive sports they played.  Let’s face it, everyone raises their children differently, but the young adults, and even aged adults whom show a sense of entitlement, are the people whom were either handed things as a child, or those whom experienced winning too much.  Yes, there is a “too much” when it comes to winning because winning can only teach you so much , when it’s the only thing you know.  The fact is, if you see or know of a person with a sense of entitlement, the best gift you can give them is losing.


Losing Has Many Rewards

One of the most important things losing does, particularly for a child, is teaches them how to overcome defeat, how to overcome obstacles, how to overcome failures, and how to properly behave from an emotional point of view.  Losing teaches them to embrace failures in life, and teaches them that anything worthwhile in life is earned.  It also teaches them that when we make mistakes, we are able to learn.  Isn’t that the same ideology regarding school?  If we already knew all there is to know, we wouldn’t have to go to school.  If we were perfect in life, we wouldn’t need anyone.  In the case of failure, it gives people an opportunity to learn from mistakes, and raise their confidence to new heights, based on overcoming failures.  Most importantly, when a child loses in sports, they are forced to go through emotions they may not want to go through.  Plain and simple, losing isn’t done by choice.  When a child experiences competitive loss, he or she is forced to go through the emotions that failure and loss bring about.  Why is this so important?  Because as children get older, they will run into much tougher obstacles than childhood sports.  If all they do is experience positivity, what will their emotional result be when they experience pain, failure, and negativity?  And rest assured, no matter how much as parents we don’t want our children to experience life and the pain it can bring, they 100% will.


Give Your Child The Gift of Losing…Embrace it!

Ultimately, in preparation for adulthood, one of the greatest gifts a child can experience is competitive loss in sports.  One can conclude that if an adult shows a sense of entitlement, they were handed too much…they won too much.  Winning doesn’t have to be seen as sports alone, though.  Winning, in this case, can be seen as anything positive that happens.  And, of course, as parents, we want to only protect our children from bad things; it’s completely normal to feel this way, but are you protecting them too much if all you do is show them “winning”???  Allowing your child to go through the gamut of emotions, evaluate how they react, and then teaching the child how one should act and respond to failures, is what allows the child to learn.  Isn’t learning exactly what we want for our children?  Don’t we want them to become successful through their lives, and to be able to handle responsibilities, handle failures, learn from failures, and grow?  That’s what losing does!  So, you can have your child always experience winning and positivity, but what cost will they pay later in life from you doing so?

Though we live in a very competitive society, and winning is the obvious favored choice, when a child loses in competition, even though they won’t realize it immediately, they are truly being rewarded more than they could ever imagine.  I like to say, “There is no “winning and losing”.  There’s only “winning and learning”.  You win, but when you lose, you learn.”

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