Learning To Love Losing
I’m going to say it. I love losing.
Not nearly as much as I love winning. I mean, I’m an American. Of course, I love victory. But I love losing almost as much. Even the “you never should’ve been on the same planet as the person who just waxed you” types of losses. I love those too.
Losing is a gift. It’s a full toolbox that allows you to analyze everything you did wrong. So, hopefully, you don’t lose again. At least, you find better ways to lose.
I’ve mained Ryu in the Street Fighter franchise for as long as I can remember. He’s not just a game character to me; he’s a key part of my identity. The relentless pursuit of self-improvement is an honorable goal. It also keeps you out of other people’s business.
Something changed in Street Fighter 5. My skills have diminished over the years, no doubt, but there was more than that. The timing for everything was all wrong. I didn’t have the same synchronicity with the character as I once had. Letting go of this character after thirty years was difficult, but when something is no longer working, sometimes you have to let go. So I picked up his darker version, Kage. I rediscovered the timing I had with Ryu. I worked on new combos, and new strategies, and even uploaded some of my practice to youtube. So I hopped onto the casuals and battle lounges, ready to show the world there was a new Kage.
And then I got my ass kicked. I was so bad. Embarrassingly so. Even as I write this, I’m sitting on a 2–7 record with the character.
The first time I played, I got destroyed.
The second time I played, I still got destroyed, but I came closer to winning that time around.
The third game brought no victory, but I learned to work projectiles into my game plan.
The fourth time, I lost, but I wasn’t destroyed. I took a round off my opponent.
The fifth time, I won. Barely, but I won.
For the first time tonight, after losing seven matches, I put my most complete game plan together and walked away with a perfect victory.
I love losing because it provides the best opportunity to learn. Learning is how you grow and improve.
The same thing can be applied to any endeavor. You have to be bad before you can be good at something. You have to pay your dues, take your licks, and put in the time before you start to see results.
Remember that, when you think your first draft is crap.
Thanks for reading.