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A Short Treatise on Losing

There is no shame in losing. None.

It isn’t a failure to fight and to lose. It is a failure not to fight, not to compete.

Even the best salespeople lose opportunities. The best salespeople lose opportunities because they make mistakes; they fail. The best salespeople lose deals even when they have done everything right, they lose when they have done everything in their power, and they lose even when they deserved to win.

The largest, strongest competitor in your space loses opportunities to their peers. They also lose opportunities to smaller, seemingly weaker competitors who outsell them. The smallest competitor that fights above their weight class can fell a giant. Giants lose.

And the giant can squash the smaller, more nimble competitor, sweeping in and ripping their dream client from their grasp. They can position themselves to win and force a loss on the salesperson who deserved to win. There isn’t always a happy ending for the underdog; they lose, too.

What Losing Teaches You

It’s easy to recite all of the things that you would have done differently had you had it to do over again. Many losses come with lessons worth learning. And some losses come with no lessons at all; they come only with the pain of having fought hard only to lose. There is sometimes nothing that could have been done.

But there is always a lesson to be learned (or at least a lesson to be reinforced):

Losing teaches you that you are going to have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off after losing. It teaches you that you are going to have to go and pick another fight, a fight that you may in fact lose.

You may not always win, but it’s more important that you possess the indomitable human spirit that allows you to keep fighting.

Losing teaches you something else, too. As you are lying there, bloodied, bruised, and broken, take a minute and look around. You aren’t the only one that spent themselves in a losing fight. Scattered across the ground all around you are your competitors. You may be hurt, but your competitors are all hurting too; they haven’t won every contest.

Losing is part of the fighter’s game. It’s the price you pay for competing. It hurts because you care deeply. If you didn’t care deeply, it would hurt so bad to lose. So relish the pain. Then get back in there and give it another go, win or lose.

No questions, just Teddy:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.


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  1. […] if every play resulted in putting points on the board, but they don’t. To succeed, you have to pick yourself up after a failed play (or a lost game), dust yourself off, and play the next […]