You Just Can’t Always Win

A wise man said one of the hardest parts of life is understanding ourselves. I am definitely on it.

But a challenge is a challenge. The first story of my on-going project #30daysofwriting is about describing my personality. So, excuse me if I might look narcissistic.

The question of an individual personality is indeed a personal thing. Been through some job interviews lately, and coincidentally personal characteristic has become the favorite question raised by the interviewer. Not going to lie that knowing the uniqueness of an individual characteristic is always interesting.

Me as a competitive person

You might wonder how can somebody become so competitive. I am talking about myself for being ‘gifted’ (lol) as a competitive man. Some people will probably love having it, but some others, like me, not happy about it. Sometimes, it feels like a hassle.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

I start guessing when did this character was attached to me. I like to join the competition a lot since I was a child. Whatever the level of competition is, whether it’s just a trivia game with friends or the serious one. I always want to win. And I think that is my problem.

When school time comes, I comprehended it as a court of competition with my classmates. Okay, I made friends with some. Even today, I do have a close friendship with some of them.

However, when the school exam came, it was time to be rivals. I always wanted to be the best student that achieves the highest score at school. Since in the elementary degree and junior high school, I always end up as the best student with the highest score accumulatively. When in senior high school, the situation was a bit different. Since there were too many other better students — I was failed to be the best. But, I was excel at a National Olympic Science competition. I even won a Bronze Medal in the National Earth Science Olympics.

Out of school time, I was also active following some other competitions: poem writing, declamation pieces, sports, and chess competition. I won some of them, but lose the others.

I see the competition is like hope. There is a hope to be a winner there. It will also stimulate somebody to do and to be better. A hope will trigger positive energy under people’s conscious mind.

I was naive to respond failure

The Shawshank Redemption

Through a memorable scene in the highest IMDb movie rating ever — The Shawshank Redemption, Ellis Boy Redding once said to Any Dufresne that “Hope is a dangerous thing.”

When you fought hard to prepare for a thing, but then you lose it, that’s painful. How we react to failure is paramount.

A naive person will likely react negatively. That was me years ago. When I did lose from a competition that I followed, it was hard for me to accept it.

Back in 2009, after following intensive training and preparation for more than two months, I was failed to be a participant in the international competition for Earth Science Olympics in South Korea. I was eliminated at the first stage of the national team selection. That was my biggest dream after I won the Bronze Medal at a national competition. My response to my failure was just not good at all — I kept blaming myself and brought the negative vibes to my other side life. I was depressed.

I know for sure that was not a good thing to hold.

One thing that I realize: you don’t need to always win to be happy

I learn all the ways how to be wise in dealing with that issue. To completely deactivate my competitive character is, of course, an impossible mission. It is not bad either to stay competitive under the right level.

Having ups and downs in life has excreted my naive thought a little bit.

It is understandable that people always want to win and hate losing. The problem is the competition will pop out with two probabilities: winning and losing. The question is when everyone wants to win, who will be the losing side?

In a bigger perspective, winning or losing are parts of life. You just cannot always win. On some occasions, losing is inevitable. When you won, congratulate yourself.

“Congratulations! You did it! Let’s celebrate!”

That is an appreciation to yourself. A form of self-love.

Meanwhile, when the result does not end up as you wish, then accept it. Accepting failure is one of the toughest elements of life. It is better off to take your failure as a moment of reflection. A learning material. You cannot be a winner in every aspect of life. There is an area where you will be the greatest — vice versa.

But if you cannot be the best, then it should not be an issue either. It is okay to be mediocre. It is normal. You do not always need a win to be happy. Be more chill and flexible with a surprise that life offers. This is an advice to myself and seems likely relevant to you.

That is what I learn from life.

Crafting Stories for Therapy