Losing & Learning

Failing isn’t the end of the world, it means you’re learning and growing!

Everybody fails

How many times do you get something right the first time you try, without making a mistake?

Has anyone in your class always gotten 100% in tests? Have you ever known anyone to never miss a shot in basketball?

Unless you know something I don’t (and I was a teacher AND a basketball coach) the answer to all of these questions is; of course not!

Unfortunately, in our world we see amazing feats and tricks all the time online. What we don’t see is that behind those incredible trick shots or stunts, there are probably hundreds of tries and heaps of fails.

Sometimes we lose a lot. Sometimes we have to work pretty hard and take our time to get something right. Sometimes we make a mistake and we get busted for it.

That’s okay. In fact, it’s natural for you to make mistakes, especially when learning something new or stretching yourself a bit.

Losing sucks and that’s okay

Losing is normal. In fact, it makes you a better person. Let’s be honest though, it really sucks!

Learning to lose well is helpful, because:

  • It builds resilience – so you can bounce back when things go wrong.
  • It trains you to be emotionally buoyant, so you float instead of sinking under the weight of feelings.
  • If you never lost or failed or made a mistake, you wouldn’t know how wonderful it feels to win or succeed.

Some tricks to losing well

Losing doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world… no-one likes a sore loser!

  • If you’re coming last in a race or muck something up in front of others, smile and wave.
  • Congratulate others who’ve done better than you.
  • Help someone else who is struggling.
  • Get in the habit of telling yourself (and others if it will help) things like: “I must have forgotten to wear my lucky undies today”, “I guess I should’ve eaten my kale.” Or “Not your day today, but there’s always tomorrow”.

Making mistakes doesn’t mean you’re failing and it’s not a sign you’re useless, flawed or wrong. It just means you made a poor choice in that one moment, or were unlucky or needed more practise.

When your mistakes cause harm

  • Take responsibility (remember, you can ask a trusted adult for help).
  • Apologise if your error has caused harm to yourself, someone else or property.
  • Ask how you can make things right.
  • Act to make things right and then forgive yourself and let it go.

Learning to win

I would like to add that learning to win graciously is also a valuable life lesson. So don’t brag too hard when you achieve something. Think how those you beat may be feeling. Congratulate them on their effort and enjoy that feeling of winning… this time. Remember, you may be in their shoes next time.

Failure can be a gift rather than just a challenge. Embrace it. It shows you’re having a go and that is really important. Always have a go!

Words by Maggie Dent

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