Today’s post features a guest article from the Artistic Director of Groove Competitions, Conventions, and Workshops, Daniel DeFranco. Read below as Daniel shares his perspective on ‘The Value of Losing’. I have to agree with Daniel, as I believe failure is necessary to fully reach or appreciate success. We should be teaching our students to value and learn from each and every experience. Excuses have to stop, and we must nurture our students to recognize the power of resilience, determination, and hard work.
The Value of Losing
By: Daniel Defranco
My favorite quote is by a comedian who says, “You may be great at some things and terrible at others but you’ll never know if they tell you that you are good at everything.” While this quote is a bit harsh and not necessarily universal or comprehensive, there is definitely some truth in the message. This article does not attempt to put a positive spin on losing but rather to extend the concept into a wider collection of life lessons.
The most detrimental thing I have seen go on at competitions or between parents/teachers and youths is the encouragement of excuses. Not always, but sometimes I have seen students make excuses as to why they did not win and parents or teachers support the remark. Whenever a parent or child says something along the lines of, “You deserved to win” or “I agree that decision wasn’t fair” there is a short term and long term effect. The short-term effect is that the child feels better. The student now knows that they are not alone in feeling that they should have won and this confirmation by a role model or adult confirms their belief. The child will definitely feel better in the short term. The long-term effect is much worse. While the student may feel better in the short term, he/she now has learned that if the outcome is not what they desired he/she can now self-determine why something turned out the way it did and that excuses are acceptable. Even if (as a parent or teacher) you DO agree with the child, don’t let them know it. It teaches children that “the game is rigged” and while sometimes that is the truth, most of the time it is not. Sometimes, things are unfair and instead of making excuses, we must press on and we must teach this to our youth.
The Real Benefit
Truth be told, there will always be someone better than you and there will always be someone worse than you. However, dwelling on one’s current standing is insignificant. It will not move you to the next level. While it may be an unobtainable goal, striving to be the best will always move you up the ladder. Some are great because they are born with it, some are great because of hard work, but nobody is great because of excuses. Seeing someone who is better than you should create a role model, not an opponent. The only feelings you should have towards him/her are feelings of admiration. Working towards the talents of someone else to benefit yourself is never a bad thing.
Becoming more and more like your role model or role models will eventually yield a positive result (assuming you choose good role models). A child (or adult for that matter) that works towards a goal or looks up to someone who has achieved a similar goal is on the right track. The concept of being self-aware and understanding where you stand makes is much easier to see where you want to go. Without a good sense of self-awareness how can you see where you want to be? Maybe you think you are already there and in that case, why try to get there? REALITY IS KEY! Creating a delusion for oneself or for others is a short-term boost before a long term plunge. Be honest with yourself, your parents, your teachers, your students and your children. True love is not always kind and sometimes admitting to losing can make you a long-term winner.