Posted in Life, personal growth, Salient Thoughts

Learning To Lose

Life is not just a game, according to Jordan Peterson, it is a set of games, and the rule is never sacrifice victory across a set of games for victory in a single game.

It’s simple. Our lives are made up of series of events, and while all these events and our responses to them define the kind of life we have, no single event is our life.

The important thing is, while we are doing everything we can to make each event as successful as possible in order to richly fortify our life as a whole, there are some times when victory in a single game would significantly alter our life negatively. And such an impact might be very hard to recover from.

It’s like a game of chess; sometimes you have to sacrifice the pawn to give your knight an edge to capture an opponent’s piece. Sometimes it’s the knight that has to go in order for the bishop to have a clear go at the opponent’s king. Rarely, if at all, would you sacrifice your rook for a pawn.
Life can be compared to that in a sense. Each game you play is a part of a larger set of games, and each game carries different weights. Sometimes you’d be required to sacrifice the victory of a less weighty game for the overall success of the whole game. Because that’s what matters at the end of the day, how you are fairing in the set of games rather than in a single game.
We can also say it as, “sometimes you have to lose a battle in order to win the war.”
And if you’re to do that successfully, you cannot ignore the important advice to pick your battles carefully.
This doesn’t just mean, know which battles to fight, it also means even after you’ve picked which ones to fight, you gotta know which ones you can lose without significantly damaging your chances of success in the war.
This means, among the battles you are picking, have ones that the cost of losing them would pale compared to the gain of winning them. Meaning, you can lose them and be fine or you can win them be great.
Ray Dalio talked about something similar in his book, Principles, when he said, before making a decision you have to consider if the potential gain outweighs the potential loss. It’s also what Tony Robbins referred to as Asymmetric Risk/Reward in his book, Unshakeable.

Even though we might not like it, the fact is, you can’t always win. But another less frightening as well as undervalued fact is, with the right tools, you can almost always turn every loss into a propeller for an awesome win.
It was Napoleon Hill, in his all-time bestseller Think and Grow Rich, that said “every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.”

Losing doesn’t have to be a bad thing. One of the things I’ve learnt from Unshakeable is that while “bear markets” can be seen as unfavourable times and can throw a lot of people into panic mode, making them lose money, smart people use this unfavourable time to their own advantage for when the “bull market” comes.

A simple yet profound rule to always remember is: Know what to do, do what you know.
It’s not enough to know that failure can bring success, but you’ve gotta be willing to fail when you have to, and then turn your failure to success. But you gotta do that for yourself, no one is going to take that bold step for you. You’ve got to know when to lose and how to lose wisely.

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