Losing is good

Yes, it is.

Though try telling that to a couple of nine year olds.

My daughter and her good friend had gotten a little too confident in their skills on their basketball team lately. Much better than the other teams in the league, they had gotten comfortable with always winning and always being the best. Cocky, almost.

But they joined a new league with better competition, and got their butts handed to them in their first game.

So I told them afterward that losing is good, and they rolled their eyes at me. To be expected, for sure. But it bears repeating.

Losing is good, because it makes you better, I emphasized to them. Facing better competition and inevitably losing to them makes you better at what you do. Getting the “suck” factor out of the way – and no, I didn’t actually use that phrase when discussing with them – so that you can improve at your craft is done best when you work with or play against people better than you. Whether we’re talking co-writing songs or playing basketball, when you’re among those more skilled than you, you reach up as best as you can to their level, which makes you stretch and simply get better. It’s the best crash course possible in getting better that exists.

They ended up listening politely, even parroting, “playing against teams better than you makes you better,” a few times, mostly so I would just leave the room, annoying parent that I was.

And they still didn’t get it. They were still pissed off and frustrated. They didn’t feel better about the whole situation till they won their next game with the easier competition in the original league the following day.

But the funny thing is, when the girls played the better competition in the newer league the next time, they were better. They lost by fewer points and made the other team work harder. They were simply getting better, even though they didn’t realize it because all they saw was the losing.

I kept telling them all of this, and pointing out the positives, but they didn’t want to hear it. “Whatever, it’s good to play tougher teams, blah, blah, blah. We’re getting better. But we’re still losing! Losing stinks.”

Well, yeah, I couldn’t argue with that… Losing sure stinks. I may get heavy handed and preachy with them at times, but I won’t deny that. I’m not that annoying.

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