“There is no downside to winning. It feels forever fabulous. But there is no teacher more discriminating or transforming than loss. The great secret of athletics is that you can learn more from losing than winning. No coach can afford to preach such doctrine, but our losing season serves as both model and template to how life an go wrong and fall apart in the most inconceivable places. Losing prepares you for heartbreak, setback, and tragedy that you will encounter in the world more than winning ever can.”
– Pat Conroy “My losing Season”
Success versus failure is interesting isn’t it? With success you are on top of the world. You achieved your goal, nailed the interview, got the dream job. Failure brings you crashing down. Or does it? Success and failure mean different things to different people. I get a daily devotional from my church. This week’s focus has been looking at how the desire to succeed can take over our lives. It’s been an interesting week to think about how success affects our lives coming off a race where I didn’t meet my goal. One might deem it as a failure. I don’t. I also stand on the verge of having a completely full violin studio. In fact we are having trouble fitting everyone into a slot. Success that has me slightly stressed out. I’ve watched others try to figure out if they have meet with success or failure. What does it all mean? I’ve watched as some who have reached some of the greatest success in running, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, attack others who they have deemed not as worthy as them despite having their own qualifying time. They have been blinded by success.
Losing is an important part of life. We often learn more from our mistakes more than our successes. It’s why I tell me students there is no such thing as a bad sound. One student admitted just yesterday that she didn’t want to try something because she thought it would sound bad, because she was afraid. How do know if you don’t try? The thought of losing can bring us to a crashing halt. In life we lose more than we succeed, but that’s part of what makes success feel so good. The idea of finally making it over that hurdle we’ve been trying to get past. In playing the violin I learn more by what doesn’t work. It’s a puzzle that I have to solve. Once I solve it I move on to the next. It’s how we grow and get better. So what’s the next puzzle? And how will we handle it?