Monthly Archives: June 2020

Lessons from defeat

In this post, we’ll have a quick talk on why learning from defeat is important and how to make sure you learn the right lessons.

Defeat is one of these universal human experiences. It doesn’t care about your background or social influence. It just is the way it is. Even the blessing factor has little to no effect on the fact that you will sooner or later get defeated/loose at something in your life. In fact, the longer you live, not only the greater the odds that this will happen, but that it will happen again, and again. This is not meant to be negative. It’s just a fact of life.

Learning from defeat

It follows that since defeat is an unavoidable part of life, we’ll do better by learning from it, and even more important to learn the right lessons. Doing so will set us on a path of fewer and fewer defeats, and as a result more and more victories, all because some of our losses come not from new mistakes, but from old lessons we didn’t learn from.

The problem of learning the wrong lessons

Learning the wrong lessons is one of these big and yet underreported problems. We are used to moving on once we get that feeling of insight we’re all familiar with. We don’t take the time to ponder on whether our insight really was an insight or some misunderstanding of what mother life was trying to teach us.

The result of fake insights is a life of confusion, where we keep on making the same mistakes over and over again while stopping ourselves from relearning because we strongly believe we’ve learned the lesson successfully at the first try.

When to start reflecting

The feeling of defeat is by far one of the most unpleasant human experiences. The experience is sometimes so bad that we avoid doing anything that would lead us to it, like taking chances that might also lead us to success. We are often so afraid of failure that we prefer to give up the chance to win.

This is not the worst of the problems. The worst thing comes moments after the reality of defeat sinks in. We’re emotional and maybe even confused. When we might have thought we would win, and even felt the smell of the prize within our nostrils. Now we begin to question our own judgment. This is the worst time to start reflecting.

The reason why I say this is that depending on our mentality and our level of maturity it’s very easy to arrive at the wrong conclusions for why we lost, and as a result learn the wrong lessons from the painful experience.

Why is this a problem? Well if you learn the wrong lessons from the experience you will live the rest of your life in ignorance. Add that to the fact that lessons learned emotionally are much better remembered than memories made in a calm state of mind. In some ways we can say that not only you remember the lesson, but your body does too.

So the best time to reflect on your defeat is when your mind is the most likely to be clear and unbiased. That is after your nerves and emotions are calm. This would make it that much easier that the real lessons from the defeat are learned even if they are not pleasant.

At this time your rational self is more likely to be online and you’re more willing to begin taking the necessary steps to win no matter how difficult the might seem.

Intellectual versus emotional learning

There is a concept of intellectual and emotional learning. I became aware of it once I made a habit out of getting past obstacles. Intellectually most of us are exposed to the idea of what it feels like to go through obstacles and what to do when we think we can’t. Having this feeling, however, is a much more profound lesson. So although we might agree we should get past obstacles and that there are rewards associated with it, we can only truly agree when we get past our first obstacle.

This is why the next point makes sense. Because we can learn the same lesson twice, learning what others learned before we “learn” it for ourselves is possible.

Most common lessons to learn from defeat

There are several common lessons to learn from defeat. Again learning them now doesn’t mean you’ll understand these lessons completely. You’ll have to go through them. But then as I said before at the moment of defeat there is always the chance of learning the wrong lessons. So by reading through other people’s experiences with defeat, you get to know what kinds of lessons to look for, and perhaps, you now get the chance to learn these lessons at a deeper level, by living through them. Below are a few.

Defeat today doesn’t mean defeat tomorrow

This is probably one of the deepest and most difficult to learn lessons from defeat. The reason why I consider it to be one of the deepest is that believing otherwise will likely prevent you from getting what you want if you don’t get it on the first try. The crazy thing is that most things worth having are difficult to acquire. They often require multiple tries and failure is a given. So if your life strategy is to try things only once and to quit when you fail the only path to a great life is only based on luck. You can be wildly successful but the nagging feeling that what you have can easily slip through your fingers can be a form of misery even in success.

The reason why it’s difficult is that it takes a practice of failure after failure with sprinkles of success mixed in for the lesson that failure today doesn’t mean failure tomorrow to sink in.

The answer is likely within

Another common and powerful lesson from defeat is that the answers are likely within. This is why trying to reflect when you’re down is a bad idea. Again when we lose we get emotional. We’re much less likely to blame ourselves for the results. Blaming the world is much more comfortable because doing otherwise requires us to think less of ourselves at least to some degree.

The world is the best scapegoat that ever existed. We get to blame it for Our mistakes. Our laziness and insecurities. Our shortcomings and even the fact that we can’t blame ourselves for anything. All because the world doesn’t talk back.

The point is that defeats/losses are more often than not a direct/indirect result of something we did ourselves. The quicker you accept this lesson the quicker you can go through the defeat -> try again … cycle that any worthy goal requires from us.

Preparation as a way to increase your odds of success

The last and by no means the last or least important is the lesson that preparation can go a long way to increase your odds of success.

When we think preparation we usually think sports or any other kind of competition, but this applies to virtually every area of life.

Preparation allows you to oversee mistakes before you make them when it counts. In some ways, this and the last lesson go hand in hand. You can only come to the conclusion that your preparation was inadequate if you can on some level accept the blame for the fact that you are the problem.

Summary

Learning lessons from defeat is difficult. Clarity is n some ways subjective. We can have two people with completely opposite points of view experience that sense of clarity and insight with regards to their own points of view. This is why trying to learn the lessons of failure from people who went through it can be so useful.

One last strategy to avoid learning the wrong lessons from failure is to ask other people from their input. Although there have been cases in history where the masses have been wrong, more often than not if more than one person sees things in a certain way, chances are that they are right and you should listen. So the suggestion is to try to hear from other people what they make of your experience.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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The importance of self-belief

This is post is a quick discussion on the importance of self-belief.

Believing in oneself is an idea that has been around least as long as the self-help movement. For the most part, most of us need to hear that we can accomplish more than what we give ourselves credit for from someone else, be that through a book or an in-person mentorship. There are a few who naturally believe they can do great things. They have this natural and to some degree irrational belief in themselves. Add to that the fact that the world’s opinion on them is for the most part irrelevant to that confidence in themselves. Their belief is a function of them and them alone. Regardless of what group you fall into, it’s now widely agreed that the first step towards greatness is an unabashed sense that we can achieve greatness.

The importance of self-belief

Why does it matter whether you believe in yourself to achieve great things? Can you succeed without any sense of self-belief? This is the question we aim to answer in this post.

Your child self

The most important reason why you should believe you can do great things is that each one of us retains their childhood self even as they go through the later stages of life, namely adulthood and old age.

We have within us reservoirs of energy and motivation that for whatever reason cannot be tapped by logic alone. Meaning that we all agree that getting in shape is good/ideal at a rational level, but somehow being overweight is one of the most popular struggles of today.

It’s as if the other version of us has its own agenda, and for it to change its plans we need to provide a very good reason to do so.

It turns out that anything that causes an emotional response does the trick, and there is no more powerful emotional response than that of feeling in one’s bones that one is destined to greatness. As you’re probably aware, it doesn’t even matter whether the belief is grounded in reality. All that matters is that the belief exists in the first place.

Your peers

For the most part, we tend to use other people to ground us in reality. Their feedback whether conscious or subconscious tells us in one way or another whether our perception of reality is accurate or not. There are times, however, in which entire groups ignore their version of reality and adopt that of a single member. Usually, the member has such strong will that because of that alone he or she becomes the leader of the pack.

This is to say that no person is an island. Your firm belief in yourself radiates outward and increases the odds that your peers not only believe in your belief but also that they are more willing to subscribe to it. Even if they don’t want to be a part of it, the most important thing is that your peers think your delusional belief in yourself is not delusional at all.

Now you enter the level in which you can fabricate reality and this is one of the most important skills ever. When at first you had a half-hearted sense of confidence in your ability to do great things, now you not only believe it privately but also you get the positive and energetic feedback that what you see in yourself is real.

In essence, you make the world believe in you by believing in yourself, and in turn, they make you believe in yourself, even more, when they show how much they believe in you in the first place.

The doubters

The cold hard truth about life is that no matter how real your potential, there will always be doubters. People who want to “bring you back to reality”, even if this “reality” is detrimental to your goals and dreams.

The worst thing is that the most common form of doubter is that who claims to have your best interest at heart, and as a result, it makes it even more difficult for you to reject the advice to think less of yourself.

Again an irrational and carefully designed sense of belief is crucial. I’m not talking about convincing yourself you can fly, but convincing yourself that you can achieve your desired goal. It’s the same thing with entering a relationship with a solid sense of self-esteem, versus entering it with wounds in need of healing and wholes in need of filling.

If you enter the world with an irrationally unshakable belief in yourself, even these undesirable advisors can’t get through you. Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean you won’t feel insecure. Chances are that you will, but the difference is that you’ll be much more prepared to bounce back from the few seconds or minutes in which you almost believe you can’t do great things.

I realized this about myself. Whenever I have a deep-rooted sense of confidence in my ability to do something, the moments of doubt don’t last long. It’s as if my mind has created its own mechanism of motivation that’s triggered when I get below a certain threshold of doubt.

Self-fulfilling prophecies

There is also the problem of self-fulfilling prophecies. When we think prophecies we think divine intervention, and if you consider yourself a rational type of any kind chances are that the idea of making things come to reality through your words feels absurd. This is just surface-level thinking.

It’s possible to make things happen through words without any divine intervention and that is through our subconscious mind. I’m not talking about manifesting things through the universe either. What I mean is that our beliefs make us more or less sensitive to opportunities.

If we believe ourselves to be cursed with mediocrity, we are more likely to miss crucial opportunities that could take us from mediocrity to something better if not even full-blown success. It’s the old idea of the law of serendipity favoring those who try.

By believing in yourself you make it that much more likely that you can find opportunities that will put you in situations that as a result prove your self-belief right. We can compare it with the effect our confidence in ourselves has on our peers, by making them believe in us, which in turn makes us believe in ourselves even more. The difference here is that the positive feedback loop has “chance” as opposed to our peers on the other side of the table.

Low self-esteem or any other form of negative self-belief, has its own consequences. The less we believe in ourselves the less other people believe in us. There is always the exceptional situation in which someone sees something in us we don’t see in ourselves, and again by “chance” this person is gifted with the ability to say the right thing to spark that sleepy self-esteem we all have within us. To rely on the off chance that of happening to us is a losing strategy.

Often people will treat you the way you treat yourself, even if that means abusing you in ways they wouldn’t do to other people. Self-belief is not a luxury of those who are gifted in one way or another, but a requirement if you are to have and keep any degree of success in life, because looks in whatever form they are represented, be that physically or intellectually, tend to be subjective. If you look like you know what you’re doing, often enough you know what you’re doing, even if you’re the only one who knows you’re just as clueless as everybody else.

Summary

Self-belief is at the end of the day a game of delusion. A game you play with yourself and the world. A game in which being realistic or rational is a losing strategy. A game in which the winners sometimes get to rule over those who claim to see through their b**s**t.

The crazy thing is that before you can benefit you have to get over your own need for evidence to without being repetitive: “believe”. You have to be the first follower in your own one-person cult before you can get the fame of thousands and millions.

Self-belief is a basic need. The kind of basic need from which other needs find support because without it the whole building of “you” becomes subject to fall at the slightest touch. The thing is that a strong foundation is formed purely from nothing but thought independently of its grounds in reality. If anything reality is detrimental since regardless of how well you might think of yourself, reality will also put the breaks on how far you can go, just like an immovable speedbump on the road that has the power to slow down even the heaviest of the vehicles. Reality is an incorruptible speedbump. To such a degree that even the greatest of us have to answer to it regardless of how much influence they have or how much money they possess. Reality is inflexible.