High hopes and expectations gave way to defeat, shock, dejection and finally to pain, anger and destruction.
This was the 120-minute journey taken by Argentina’s national football team’s supporters who had gathered at a public square viewing area in Buenos Aires, to watch the final 2014 FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and Germany. Chaos erupted after Argentina lost to Germany.
Who publicly vents their frustration through riotous acts of violence and hooliganism because of a loss?
Before we rush to condemn the fans’ behavior, it’s important to consider what may have led them to do what they did. In today’s world, success is highly overrated. We celebrate those who come first, conquer (however we define that), make it big, win awards and medals, achieve in one way or other. It’s all about positive feelings, positive emotions and positive labels.
On the other hand, we look down upon those who have suffered defeat, loss and humiliation. For them, it’s negative, negative, negative – feelings, emotions and labels. They’re not good enough, they’ve failed, lost, let themselves and us down.
So it’s shame, shame, shame!
And so for Argentina’s fans, theirs was not just a case of lawlessness. They were simply projecting on the outside what they were going through on the inside – their pain and disappointment. But, one may – nay, SHOULD – ask whether the fans could have displayed their feelings of loss differently.
After all, with no exception, we go through loss and defeat at different times in our lives.
- Does that give us the license to take to the streets every time we lose and generally make other people’s lives miserable in the process? Especially when the loss is so intense, it’s palpable.
- Or, do we have a choice as to how to respond to loss?
To quote a popular saying, we need to win with humility and lose with grace. But, what does it mean to lose with grace? In this post, I share a 3-step process that one can follow.
3-Steps to Winning With Humility and Losing With Grace
1) Accept That You Have Lost
Once you’ve lost, you’ve lost. You can’t wish the loss away. And you can’t turn back the clock, to translate the loss into a win. So, admit that you’ve lost. Allow yourself to come to terms with your loss and grieve if you must.
Argentina’s loss to Germany was boldly summed up by Joao Cuenca, who has an Argentine father and a Brazilian mother:
“This was a trauma. We were going to be able to leave singing songs in victory with the glory of the Cup. What happened is nothing short of a disaster.”
Ouch! The good news is that facing your loss and pain head on makes it much easier for the healing process to begin.
2) Learn All You Can
At one time or other, you will lose. It’s just a matter of time. And each loss has a lesson embedded in it.
- Ask yourself what you can take away from the experience and make it work for you.
- Don’t waste your loss.
- The good news is that losing does not make you a loser.
- It’s an experience, not a state.
- So, make it your aim to learn all you can from any and every loss.
- Drawing lessons can help you emerge a stronger, better person.
- Apply those lessons to future pursuits, to improve your chances of succeeding then.
Internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach and author, John Maxwell says in his book Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn, that winning isn’t everything, but learning is. Don’t waste your experiences whether it’s a win or a loss. Learn from both.
3) Move On
Easier said than done, but you must. Don’t camp where you lost the game – for if you do, you’ll waste the chance to get ready for your next big opportunity. Guard against what Abraham Graham Bell, the late Scottish scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator warned about:
“When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
You have to make the decision to keep moving through other open doors. You never know – your next win may be far greater than your last loss. As long as you’re alive, keep moving.
Leading Through Loss
Indeed, better days lie ahead if you accept your past losses, learn from them and move on to seize future opportunities. This lesson applies in sports, family, business, community and in life.
How do you currently deal with loss in your life? Does it make the situation better or worse? How could you respond to losses more effectively?
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Filed under: Authentic Leadership, Emotionally Intelligent Leadership, Leadership Lessons Learned, Leading & Developing Other Leaders, Practical Steps to Influence | Tagged: Attitude, business, communication, emotional intelligence, leadership | Leave a comment »