Learning to Lose

The Descent is one of my favorite movies. The characters try to escape monsters while caving. The best part is that they try their best and still fail. That’s what interests me; how do you handle yourself after you fail?

Recently been watching Haikyu, a volleyball anime, which takes a deeper dive than most stories in losing. Which got me thinking about my own life. I’ve never played sports competitively, but I have gamed at that level. I’ve played on all sorts of levels: first, second, and scrub.

The experience at the top is rather mundane. I did my part on the team and we succeeded. After the excitement faded, we mostly enjoy watching the drama unfold on the teams below. But there are diminishing returns on winning. Consistently being on top takes an absurd amount of time. So much that you eventually realize how much you’re giving up to be number one.

Being in second place is definitely a mixed bag. You feel like you’re putting in the same effort if not more than first place but you’re on the losing end most of the time. The few times that you actually win, are great.

The times that your team is performing at their best and are still bested is where the emotions happen. Anger and frustration quickly manifest. I’ve been reminded from watching Haikyu how important of a role leadership is in tough situations, specifically losing. Because without leadership, things quickly spiral out of control.

It’s really hard to analyse situations at the time, but when you reflect upon the moments at a later date you really start to build the character you want to be. You’ll be doing a lot of reflecting when you’re constantly in second place because you’ll always be doubting yourself.

In Japanese culture there is a [makenai] never-give-up-spirit which seems to be ingrained in you as a child. Since I’ve been thinking about this topic recently, I’m wondering if the never-give-up-spirit is like the brute force method of enduring. Before I thought if you never give up, you’ll only succeed, lol. I’ve since realized that you may need to give up in order gain perspective.

And lastly, being a scrub – AKA casual. That’s where I’m at in my life at the moment. Unwilling to go back on the competition roller coaster.

Reflection is key. [side story] I remember when my friend James accidentally deleted my Marvel vs. Capcom 2 which had all the characters unlocked. I banned him from my house (for real). You need to reflect on moments like that because once some time has passed, you’ll realize what a fool you were.