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How To Become Better At Handling Defeat & Stop Being A Sore Loser

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

by Davyna Abysha |

Everyone has experienced the agony of defeat at some point in their lives – including me. Personally, I’d say it took me to rock bottom and for a moment, I could feel my whole life tearing apart and the light at the end of the tunnel was nowhere to be found. Certainly, I’m not going to deny that it does take a whole lot to push through, and oftentimes, we end up being in a state of mental koyak but hey, a defeat pales in the face of the infinite chances awaiting us out there!

Even when it did feel like something so huge, like when the Coronavirus seemed to be winning against all of us, here we are making the best out of everything, and today, the declining trend in the number of cases has proven that each one of us is conquering the battle.

So how do we become better at handling defeat and learn from it instead of being a sore loser?

1. Accepting and Moving On

This includes putting aside thoughts like:

“Eh, where got fair one lah!?”

“How come they always win one!?”

To get over it, we would have to bring ourselves above it, not dwelling in it.

Failures, just like everything else, will become a memory someday; so there’s no point in sulking over it again and again without learning something. Based on personal experience, I find that positive change often comes when we decide to let go of our egos and narcissism which takes up a huge space for personal growth. Understand that we should never let defeat define and control our lives even in the heat of the moment; but instead, transfigure these moments of failure into fuel to take us on a journey to become stronger and better.

Even the legendary human rights activist, Malcolm X once said:

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seeds, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.

2. Reflecting

Taking a step back to reflect and learn from a defeat is a critical part of self-development. We often hear the saying:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Now if you have worked under a group project or a big event, you might be involved in ‘post-mortems’ that should aim at picking apart every tiny detail that took place during the spell. This is because we need to see what went wrong and come up with strategies for improvement. Similarly, this can be insinuated into our methods of dealing with defeat.

The first thing that we should reflect on is ourselves. Ancient Greek philosophers from Aristotle to Socrates and Pythagoras speak the benefits of “knowing thyself”. This includes assessing your weaknesses and watching out for circumstances in preparation for future battles. Then, start identifying logical measures to execute your strategic plan.

The next thing to reflect on would be the other areas that affect your performance. You might want to start asking yourself questions like:

“What’s working? What isn’t?” or “Should I start changing my environment?”.

This will give you an insight into the areas you would need to pay more attention to, and this might include your health and wellbeing or even your family and relationships.

So, if self-reflection is new for you, then this is a wake-up call to hop off the treadmill of life. A minute of reflecting in a day can do wonders, trust me. Just remember that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to self-reflection, just like there isn’t any one-size-fits-all approach to life.

3. Find Guidance

A common misconception today is that one who asks for help is a person of weakness, but I think it's humility instead. When you seek the counsel of someone wiser than you, you create frameworks of both guidance and support of people who fuel your motivation to get up stronger.

Help comes in various forms – ranging from personal contacts to the internet, or better yet, a professional. Obtaining information from various resources can help you to diagnose the hidden areas of weakness that you never thought of.

You might have heard this from your teacher back in school:

“Kalau tak tahu, tanya.” (If you don’t know, ask.)

So, no matter what kind of help you might need or from whom you’re seeking help – swallow the pride in your voice and take the stiffness out from your spine to do it with sincerity and humility. And there you go, ladies and gentlemen, you’re ready to face the next battle – even if it resorts to another defeat and disappointment, it’ll be a brief visit.

4. Silence the Voices – Including yours

Huh? Does that mean we’d have to shut up now?

By voices, I mean the ones in our heads that reside there as doubts. The voices that tell us we’re sore losers, and we’ll stay as sore losers. Adding to that, the thoughts about what others might think of your failure.

Cause the end of the day, the only person you should aspire to be is a better version of yourself. Your negative thoughts or the fear of not gaining enough appreciation from others are some big hurdles that won’t do you any good, even in the long run. Easier said than done, of course, I’ve been there, and I know it takes a lot to pull through, but it’s not impossible. Eventually, I made myself understand that I am the only one capable of letting these cynical views control me and that no one and nothing can ever make me feel inferior without my consent. I’m passing the baton to you now.

Despite taking these steps, defeat and loss might still find you - but at least you’re in control. Who doesn’t love to win, right? But then again, what’s wrong with losing now and then? Every failure puts you one step close to success.

All the best. I look forward to seeing you on the finish line.

You can learn more about the writer on Instagram.

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