I recently came across an article by Dave Makela from The Sudbury Star, titled Character is revealed more by a loss than a win, which really struck a chord with me. The title alone builds my interest as it comes from a core belief I have, that
who we really are, our character, along with what really can be accomplished, is demonstrated most when we have faced some type of adversity―a loss―as the article so aptly points out.
Think about it this way, when an athlete or team wins, it supports the idea that what they have been doing at practice was sufficient. That the work/effort put in and strategies used were appropriate for the task at hand―defeating their opponent.
Yet, has it taught the lesson of what it takes to reach one’s potential? Were the efforts put in the kind that push the edge of the envelope, creating opportunities beyond what is seen just on game day? And taking it a step beyond the referenced article above, does this win test our character by putting one in a position where they must reevaluate where they are now compared to where they want to be? Basically, what’s the next step, where is the direction?
I am a firm believer in this statement from Makela’s piece:
“A player absolutely has to face adversity at some point in his career to fully enjoy the accolades that can come with winning.”
To me the inference is crystal clear; you can’t become the best you can be without experiencing failure along the way. Without failure, there is no clear course to travel. It’s what motivates the best to reach beyond normal limitations, to test one’s metal, to see what it is our actions can do to change the current condition.
Failure, it teaches as well as tests.
Bringing it back to the whole point of Dave’s piece, failure not only reveals our character but also gives us an opportunity to build on it, strengthen it into an insurmountable force, based on the choices we make after said failure. Yes, “the old adage is unequivocally true: how a player reacts when he loses tells us so much more about his character, about his respect for the game and his opponents, than how he reacts when he wins.”
You will get no argument from me Dave, for that saying I quoted from your piece above…it’s certainly based in fact.