Losing Hurts. And it’s Good For You

Suffering on the Bike
Suffering on the Bike

The photo shows me hurting on the bike. Writing this hurt too. I’d take the bike pain any day.

Last night I sat in a freezing cold church hall attending the annual general meeting of the Addiscombe Cycling Club and became a loser. Our club captain of the past ten years was standing down and another club member and I were up for election. He got it, I didn’t.

In brief, my competitor offered more of a very successful, proven formula. If it ain’t broke why fix it? I offered something a little different, and in doing so mine was the riskier option. There were 36 people present. He received 20 votes, I received 8 and the remaining folk abstained. I congratulated my competitor sincerely on his win.

In the aftermath I felt a mix of disappointment and stupidly, some anger. I hope I didn’t show the latter – that would have been pretty pathetic. Stuff like “Why didn’t they pick me? Don’t they know change is good for you blah blah rant moan.” It stayed in my head. At least until now.

Today I reflect. I look again. Nearly a quarter of the assembled members supported the something different option. That’s not bad, not bad at all. In fact it’s pretty good. My sincere thanks go to those eight people.

These feelings reminded me of an opportunity I lost last year. I got down to the final two for a position of external adviser to a local authority board. And then I lost. Back then I was initially angry. And on reflection I realised that was wrong. I made it all the way to the final fence in my first few weeks out on my own. I should not have been angry, I should have been excited.

I’m learning that losing is an essential part of putting yourself out there. And if you use the lose to encourage yourself and others to better things, then losing is good for you. So is getting over yourself – I’m still proud to wear the shirt.

What have you winners lost lately?

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

22 thoughts on “Losing Hurts. And it’s Good For You”

  1. You don’t learn anything by winning all the time which in turn makes loosing harder to deal with; it’s how you respond to the lose.

    1. Thanks Phil. I’m thinking right now about productive and involving ways to respond to the lose. You’re right – that’s what’s important now.

      Cheers – Doug

  2. This is also why I love tennis so much. You see the likes of Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic losing matches – important matches – all the time, and they learn from them. They come back stronger, more determined, more focused, and, vitally, with a better self understanding.

    Love this post. Losing does hurt. Only the winners learn and win from them. Fact.

    1. Hey Sukh – a good sporting analogy thanks. Love your point about self understanding – I will keep practicing.

      Cheers – Doug

  3. People don’t remember the ones that get knocked down, but they never forget the ones that get back up. The only ones that win are the ones that learn from losing. 🙂 Nice one Doug.

    1. Hey Walter. It’s good to hear from you. Getting knocked down is kinda fun. I’m enjoying getting back on my feet. Cheers!

  4. Well Doug where do I start.

    At least the panel knew your name lol. Sarcasm over.

    I was proud to put my arm high and proud in the air in support for your open and truthful pitch for the position of ‘Captain’. I was not going to vote for the position of ‘Club run starter’, as even I could do that.

    Congrats to Jon and I look forward to feeling his impact on the club. Shame there wasn’t the option for ALL votes to be counted.

    You were polite and took it well, good for you for looking to the future. All the best Marky Mark.

    1. Hello Marky Mark. It was very bold of you to back me and I thank you sincerely. I too look forward to some positive impact. Preferably similar to the impact we experienced falling off in the snow last weekend. Good times ahead.

  5. You win some …. you lose some. I can add no value to your experience Doug other than I know how you feel and reading the replies here it looks like we’ve all been there.

    All the feelings you get from an experience like this have to come out or they just fester and get in the way. The rationalisation shows that the lesson is learned and filed for next time.

    And hey … it hurt … it’s a rejection … it’s personal … it shows you care and believe my friend. See you on the winner’s podium 🙂

    1. Ahh Chris. You add value to many experiences I have. I know you are there. You and so many others are part of what makes me me. I will never forget the relationship we built all those years ago. It was based on plain speaking, honesty and good humour. And it still is. You add value far more often than you may think and I and doubtless others, appreciate that.

      Cheers – Doug

  6. Doug
    Don’t need to beat yourself – feeling you’ve lost is bad enough. Coming second wasn’t losing. The 36 club members in the audience (and the members that never got to the AGM) weren’t even asked to stand for election so you beat 36(+) and got beaten by 1! Hardly losing?!
    The members who voted for your competitor are “doing what they’ve always done” so will keep getting “what they’ve always got” How long will it be before they moan that the new Chairman hasn’t done anything different? You’ll probably be remembered for trying to do something different and not being a sheep!

    1. Thanks Sarah – the beating is now over 🙂

      The new guy will I think encourage some new stuff too. Just not as much as I might’ve liked. Still – it’s an interesting step in a new direction and I can help with that. Cheers – Doug

  7. I’m not so sure. I think you need to feel the pain of losing in order to drive performance and desire. The drive to win is as much about the positive reinforcement as it is avoiding the negative feelings of loss.

    Afterwards it is ok to explain it away and to not beat yourself up, but explaining away loss before the competition is a dangerous thing. In my opinion.

    1. Hi TheHRD – thanks for your visit. I agree that you do need to feel the pain of losing, it sometimes takes a little while to realise that some pain is good.

      I’m very interested in your second point. On reflection I now think I went into this believing I wasn’t going to secure the vote. Like you say – a dangerous thing. I didn’t write that but it seems implied in what I wrote. Either that or you can see into my soul. I am learning a huge amount from this experience. Thanks.

  8. Well done on throwing your hat into the ring Doug.
    You’ve got to be in it to win it. On this occasion you didn’t get the post but hey, the ultimate winners are those who keep plugging away in the face of setback. Many people just aren’t even courageous enough to put themselves forward. You did, and that’s already good – plus, there are clearly people in the club who like your ideas.

    1. Hello Maria – thanks for coming by. I’m seeing encouraging early signs that things are starting to change and hopefully involve more people and more choices. And, not or. Appreciate your kind words very much

      Cheers – Doug

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