Turning a loss into a win

Unknown bridge
Unknown bridge

I'm not a fight fan. If I didn't work in television, I might not have known there was a big fight this weekend. However, Monday I was stuck in line with little choice but to listen to a couple of guys talk about the Mayweather/Guererreo event Saturday night. Apparently Mayweather dominated the ring and was hugely impressive. After that information, most of what they said didn't "land" with me, but the conversation became more interesting when one guy chimed in with a strange opinion:

"We'll never know how good Mayweather is until he loses."

What?  Did I hear that correctly?

Fortunately I wasn't the only one confused.  The guy with the deeper voice asked the question for me, "What do you mean?"

Then the first guy described how all of the great athletes show their greatness by overcoming a loss. "If he never loses a challenge, you'll never see if he has the character to overcome difficulty."

I missed the rest of the chat, but in that quick eavesdropping exchange, I wondered if I was defining "loss" correctly. Loss is always a negative, right?

I don't enjoy losing, ergo losing is "bad."

Sure, I know the cliché, "no pain, no gain," but that's an expression best used in the gym. I don't want my character development to be painful. I want it to be like having a manicure - luxurious, easy, and fast.

Only there's a problem.

By harboring this attitude, even deep in my brain, I'm setting myself up as a consumer with an appetite only for things I "enjoy."   I cultivate the idea that the world should operate according to my expectations and somehow live within my control. Sort of like a Joy 2.0 Operating System.

And, I don't know about you, but there's a TON of power in my expectations. When I don't get my way, I get irritated, snippy, resentful, and kind of, well, as they say in the South, "ugly."

Since when have life's rewards EVER been easy?

Anyone living a story worth following has to overcome obstacles, challenges, and losses. Walking a smooth, well-manicured path isn't terribly compelling, and, if you're put together like me, you know in your gut this is true.

Which makes me ask a few questions...

- What's my risk tolerance? - Do my strategies for growth allow for failure? - Where do I need to adjust my expectations? - Can I accept a "loss" as a growth catalyst or do I make it something else?

What do you do to push yourself?