You Win and You Learn


“Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.” – John Steinbeck
I don’t know about you but I absolutely detest losing. As a child, I found it difficult to accept the concept of “losing” and hated it when people told me, “but you did your best”. In both life and love, I would work overtime to make sure that life is exactly the way I imagined it to be in my head. It’s also safe to say that I can be quite the control freak.

At 26 however, I have come to realize that maybe I have defined winning differently. I used to define “winning” as being better than everyone else around me. It didn’t matter that I did the best that I can, the important thing was that I get to be the best in all things. It was a difficult life to pull off because the reality of life is that there will always be someone better in any area of my life. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, funnier, and all the other –ers you can think of. That’s just the way the world works. The world is the oyster of the best creation of God so who was I to think that it was only me who deserved the best of the best? And why did I even think that there was only one particular best for every single person on the planet?

My neurotic one-sided way of thinking has led me to be extremely competitive and easily discouraged without a hint of humility. I was prideful and easily irritable especially if people were not conforming to what I thought was the way to get things done. I was tough on myself and that spilled over being tough to other people as well. There were impossible standards to meet and no hint of gratefulness.
But recent events have led me to reexamine my life and my choices. With my knees on the floor, I have come to realize that life isn’t really about me. I’m here to create, to add, to give, and to enrich to those around me and not the other way around. Suddenly, it wasn’t all about winning or what I was getting out of life but I was giving to life. It doesn’t mean that I no longer worked hard; it just meant that I will not fall apart when things didn’t go my way.
One of my favorite authors John Steinbeck’s quote about losing generally sums up my life right now and my way of thinking. I’m no longer racing against the entire human race (or at least the human race around me) to be the best. I am slowly learning, by God’s grace, to understand that life isn’t a competition. And that another person winning doesn’t make me lose in anything, it simply means what was given to another wasn’t meant for me. Life isn’t about keeping score but simply accepting that there’s something for everyone and I don’t “lose” at life when I don’t get what I want, instead, I win because I learn from whatever situation has hurt.

It allows me to see life from a different perspective, one that is not bitter but always hopeful because if I can learn from even the saddest situations in my life then how can I not win? Life is life and if I don’t see the good that’s when we lose, so let it go, learn the lesson and believe that what’s meant for you will find its way back to you when the time is right.