Remember that one winning soccer goal you slipped in as a kid in elementary school? It all comes roaring back so fast--the way the crowd roared, the exuberance of your teammates, and the beaming smiles of your parents when they hugged you after the game.
We don't easily forget the times we've won.
They're the easiest things to remember, the highlight reels we replay over and over again in our minds. They're the moments we like to relive when things are hard.
Winning makes us feel good, like we've accomplished something great, but it doesn't force us to self-reflect and self-improve. It, rather unfortunately, doesn't make us better people.
Scoring that game-deciding goal when you were eight didn't force you to re-evaluate your practice strategies. It didn't make you kick at a wall for hours in your backyard or ask your brother to stand in as a goalie during your 15th fake match of the day.
You didn't learn how to determine where your weak points were, figure out how to fix them, and go through the pain of subsequently doing so. You didn't have to--you won.
But what if you had lost?
You would have, and you would've been all the better for it.
As mere human beings, we all want instinctively to protect ourselves. If something is difficult or painful, we instantly shy away from the challenge. I mean, there's a reason that we have coined a term for a human being who enjoys pain and no term for the one that enjoys joy.
It's absolutely normal to want to win, to want to feel good about yourself.
The problem with constantly winning, however, is that we never have to face our demons. The hardest part of life is learning how to roll with the punches when you think you can't go on. Those with the ability to look deep into themselves and find ways to address their failures without falling apart are the ones who ultimately succeed.
How do you learn from your mistakes if you never make any?
It's okay to lose, to lose often, and to lose time and again. It builds character, shows us how to keep on when the going gets tough, and teaches you that you are always stronger than you think you can ever be.
So, next time you're looking back on your elementary school days, don't just remember that golden soccer game. Think back on that failed multiplication test, that time you let the hamster escape, and that upsetting college rejection.
Failure isn't so bad. It teaches us how to be people who can carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Lose a little. You'll thank yourself for it in the end.